Film School Rejects http://filmschoolrejects.com A Website About Movies Sat, 18 Apr 2015 08:38:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer: So Serious http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-trailer.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-trailer.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:00:17 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258527 Batman v SupermanNo need to ask why it's so serious, but does anyone think this movie could also be fun?

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At last, here is the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in official and proper-quality form — well, online proper, as opposed to the optimum IMAX version a lot of you will see Monday. My first impression: the head of Warner Bros. wasn’t kidding when he said the new DC Comics movies will be edgier than Marvel. For the MCU, there’s a battle in New York, thousands of civilians are killed, and the heroes go eat some shawarma and continue to yuk it up. For the DCCU, there’s a battle in Metropolis, thousands (if not more) citizens are killed, and a whole mega-franchise is built out of that destruction.

This movie, a sequel to Man of Steel and lead-in to the Justice League movies and more, looks Serious with a capital ‘s.’ Maybe that’s what the ‘s’ on Superman’s chest really stands for. The extraterrestrial superhero (Henry Cavill) is apparently being called a false god and likened to the Devil and dictators at the start of the Batman v Superman trailer, and likely that’s the start of the movie. We hear a handful of voices discussing the controversy of his very existence, including Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Another one of them is Holly Hunter, playing a US senator, and as always it’s great to hear that twang.

And then we hear Jeremy Irons‘s also-great and distinct voice as Alfred, speaking to brooding Ben Affleck‘s Bruce Wayne. While we’re on the topic of voices, of course, we have to address the new Batman growl, which sounds like Megatron from the live-action Transformers movies meets the Nothing from The NeverEnding Story. I’m sure its echo quality is due to the armored, Superman-busting Batsuit he’s wearing at that moment, as he asks the flying Kryptonian, “Do you bleed?” I think Master Wayne has been seen Predator a few too many times.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25, 2016.

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Dope Trailer: Welcome to a Day in a Life of a Geek http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/dope-trailer-welcome-to-a-day-in-a-life-of-a-geek.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/dope-trailer-welcome-to-a-day-in-a-life-of-a-geek.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:06:10 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258536 Sundance InstituteThis Sundance hit was one of our favorites at the festival, and you can see it for yourself on June 19th.

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This is a good week for director Rick Famuyiwa. First he got a nice new gig, helming HBO’s movie about Anita Hill and the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Hearing, which will star Scandal‘s Kerry Washington as Hill. Now a new trailer for his Sundance sensation, Dope, has arrived online. This one, unlike the confusing teaser we saw a month ago, lays out the plot of the coming of age comedy.

Shameik Moore stars as a nerdy Harvard hopeful from Inglewood obsessed with ’90s hip hop music and culture who winds up mixed up with a drug dealer (A$AP Rocky) and other trouble after a night out at an underground party. Tony Revolori from The Grand Budapest Hotel and Kiersey Clemons of the Amazon series Transparent play his best friends.

Rounding out the cast are Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, Tyga, Keith Stanfield, Casey Veggies, Vince Staples, Chanel Iman, Quincy BrownRick Fox and Forest Whitaker as the narrator. He’s also a producer of the movie, along with Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy, and Pharrell Williams.

Honestly, the trailer doesn’t make Dope look like anything spectacular, but I’ll take my colleagues’ word for it. The crowd-pleaser made our list of the best of Sundance, with Kate Erbland praising its “bold energy, bright characters, big laughs, and excellent music. She also called it “fast-paced and just fun … like the weirdest, buzziest heist film you could imagine, jazzed up with cool looks and cool kids galore.”

Even with all the buzz on this, plus an award at the festival for editor Lee Haugen, distributor Open Road has reportedly cut 10 minutes off its running time, so I guess it’ll play even faster.

Dope hits theaters on June 19, 2015, which will be a perfect way to keep your ’90s nostalgia going a week after seeing Jurassic World.

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Steve Carell to Star in Robert Zemeckis’s Next Documentary Remake http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/steve-carell-marwencol.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/steve-carell-marwencol.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:14:42 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258523 Universal PicturesCarell is following his Oscar nomination with another serious role in Marwencol

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Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

This is apparently Robert Zemeckis‘s documentary remake phase. Following his career stages as a director of technologically innovative movies and then a director of motion capture animated features, the man behind Back to the Future and Forrest Gump is now onto his second effort based on a popular nonfiction film. First is The Walk, a biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, who was the subject of James Marsh’s Oscar winner Man on Wire. That hits theaters this October. The second is Marwencol, based on Jeff Malmberg‘s Cinema Eye winner of the same name. And The Wrap reports that Steve Carell is in negotiations to star as the doc’s subject, Mark Hogancamp.

The story of Hogancamp goes from tragic to inspiring. He was beaten into a coma 15 years ago and awoke more than a week later with most his memory gone. As a form of therapy, he has recreated a massive World War II scene using action figures and other toys and takes photographs of them for an ongoing art project. His miniature world features developed characters and continuing narratives, but it’s not just a grown man playing with dolls. Could Carell’s role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin (also a Universal release), a guy who collected action figures, cloud the seriousness of Hogancamp’s situation? That might be worth consideration by Zemeckis.

Carell has previously been linked to a number of other promised documentary remakes that still haven’t happened, including narrative versions of Young@Heart and Of All Things. Marwencol appears to be going forward, though. We first heard about Zemeckis optioning the rights to the doc and Hogancamp’s story back in 2013, but I had assumed that the director’s undertaking of the Man on Wire remake was a substitute, as if he could only be interested in the one doc remake. Might he go for a third, afterward? If he doesn’t already have in mind, he can look through my list at Nonfics of projects already announced.

Malmberg is serving as an executive producer on the remake of his doc, and a script by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) was finished this week.

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A Father Tells the Most Epic Bedtime Story of All Time in This Short Film From David Lowery http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/david-lowery-pioneer-short-film.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/david-lowery-pioneer-short-film.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:39:11 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258499 PioneerAin't Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery's beautiful take on storytelling and parental love in this quietly epic short film.

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David Lowery earned a metric ton of critical attention for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, but even before then, his short film Pioneer was earning accolades on the festival circuit. It’s easy to see why.

The film features a man telling his young son a bedtime story so profoundly epic that it makes no sense that the kid should fall asleep afterward. It’s a tale that offers a unique vision of love and connection, dramatizing the connection between two family members who don’t share blood.

What’s most striking here is the connection. It’s sweet and comfortable. The son knows the story almost as well as the father. They’ve been here before, taken this journey before together, so when the dark elements of the narrative emerge, there’s a safety net in place. At the same time, it’s shot in such a way that the horrors and the lead actor’s (Will Oldham) intense rhythm make you forget that you’re in a harmless bedroom with pajamas on.

The violent, fatal parts of the story raise a great question about whether it’s really age-appropriate for the kid, but that question, too, paints their relationship with beautiful complication.

This may sound crazy, but I also need to question the validity of the father’s story.

Yeah, I get it. He’s a dad, he’s embellishing and being fantastical with an elementary school-aged boy, but what if he’s not? There’s no reason to believe that this is a genre film, but since we never leave the confines of the bedroom, there’s also no real proof that it isn’t. That might be absurd, but the father has an honest face, knows the story with great intimacy, and it creates a grand sense of magical realism (even if he’s just a regular guy with an adopted kid).

Overall, it’s an excellent, sometimes harrowing story that deserves cinematic life because of how Lowery and DP David Blood place us on the edge of the bed to listen. Absolutely gorgeous filmmaking.

Big tip of the hat to Short of the Week for shining the spotlight on this.

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The Dead Lands Threatens to Fill Your Daughter’s Uterus With Dirt http://filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/the-dead-lands.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/the-dead-lands.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:11:22 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258319 poster the dead landsWorld peace, even on a small scale, will never be achievable because there’s always some bastard craving the taste of blood. That’s the dilemma faced by Tane (George Henare) and his tribe who are hoping to make peace with their neighbors, but when that opposing chief’s son, Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), arrives with a squad of warriors in tow it’s clear that war is coming. Quite soon in fact as Wirepa and his men kill Tane and his people leaving only the women and the chief’s son alive. Young Hongi (James Rolleston) is no warrior — we know because we’re told this repeatedly — but as the last man standing from his tribe he sets out after Wirepa with revenge on his mind. He follows his prey into the Dead Lands, a dense section of the forest forbidden to trespassers and home to tales of a monster who eats human flesh, but he soon discovers that his best chance at survival may be an alliance with that very monster (Lawrence Makoare). The Dead Lands finds distinction in its characters and locations — Maori tribes in centuries old New Zealand — and these two factors combine to deliver some unique visuals alongside the action, but unfortunately it’s a wholly generic affair in almost every other regard. Comparisons to Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto are superficially apt at least — they’re different cultures and there’s no love interest to complicate matters — as both immerse viewers into a foreign forest among people who speak in subtitles, […]

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Bloody Disgusting

Bloody Disgusting

World peace, even on a small scale, will never be achievable because there’s always some bastard craving the taste of blood. That’s the dilemma faced by Tane (George Henare) and his tribe who are hoping to make peace with their neighbors, but when that opposing chief’s son, Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), arrives with a squad of warriors in tow it’s clear that war is coming. Quite soon in fact as Wirepa and his men kill Tane and his people leaving only the women and the chief’s son alive.

Young Hongi (James Rolleston) is no warrior — we know because we’re told this repeatedly — but as the last man standing from his tribe he sets out after Wirepa with revenge on his mind. He follows his prey into the Dead Lands, a dense section of the forest forbidden to trespassers and home to tales of a monster who eats human flesh, but he soon discovers that his best chance at survival may be an alliance with that very monster (Lawrence Makoare).

The Dead Lands finds distinction in its characters and locations — Maori tribes in centuries old New Zealand — and these two factors combine to deliver some unique visuals alongside the action, but unfortunately it’s a wholly generic affair in almost every other regard.

Comparisons to Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto are superficially apt at least — they’re different cultures and there’s no love interest to complicate matters — as both immerse viewers into a foreign forest among people who speak in subtitles, engage in mystical customs and fight fierce battles to avoid extinction. The problems though can be found in the differences.

Director Toa Fraser gives his film a big feel at times as characters run and fight their way across vast swaths of the landscape, and the numerous fight sequences act as bloody punctuation marks throughout the tale. They’re frequent, but the fights aren’t all that impressive. There’s a lot of sizzle to be sure including the pre-fight Haka displays as the warriors demonstrate traditional expressions, dance-like moves and the art of sticking out their tongues towards their enemies. Once the actual fighting starts though the clashes are presented in the all too common jumble of fast cuts and slow-motion meaning little to none of it is exciting or impressive.

The bigger issue though is a script (by Glenn Standring) that fumbles a very basic revenge setup. Hongi is introduced as a young man incapable of fighting, and when he meets up with the cannibalistic warrior in the Dead Lands the film shifts into a mentor/apprentice mode. We expect training of some sort, presumably in the form of a montage, but instead the fearsome warrior has only two lessons to share — run fast and talk smack about your enemy’s mother right before the fight. That’s it. And yet suddenly the boy is fighting and kicking a fair amount of ass.

There’s also an attempt to inject the story with a more magical side as Hongi has visions of his dead grandmother in a star-filled hut, but the interactions are weightless and leave us feeling unmoved. More successful are the struggles faced by the unnamed “monster.” His back story is eminently more engaging and interesting than Hongi’s, and while we’re given a taste of what brought him to the Dead Lands more would have been appreciated. One other character of note weaves her way into the tale, but Mehe’s (Raukura Turei) time here is far too limited. She’s introduced as a highly capable woman — a rarity in this male-dominated story — but as quickly as she appears she’s gone again. Like the monster, her narrative also promised to be more engaging than Hongi’s.

For all that the film gets wrong with poor Hongi, Rolleston delivers a fine and physical performance in support of his bland character. Just as he is in the narrative though, he’s outshone by Makoare at every turn. He’s a combination of Mister Miyagi and the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk as he shifts between teaching the boy and threatening to eat him, and his movements are violent, fierce and fast for a man his size. His scarred, tattooed and fur-clad body offers a worthwhile pairing to a constantly expressive (and eyebrow-less) face.

The Dead Lands is a visually appealing action picture made watchable by its imagery and unique culture, but it misses the mark beyond that.

The Upside: Beautiful geography; some fun action bits; “I will fill your daughter’s uterus with dirt” is a fantastic threat; shows cultural and historical respect for the Haka

The Downside: Too much of the action is poorly shot/edited; dull script

Grade: C+

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Whoa: The Every Secret Thing Trailer is Intense http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/every-secret-thing-trailer.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/every-secret-thing-trailer.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:02:05 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258513 Every Secret ThingA new thriller from Amy Berg, Every Secret Thing features Elizabeth Banks as a detective trying to solve a kidnapping.

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Even as thriller trailers have begun aping Gone Girl, there’s something here that hearkens back to a time when Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd were running around the crime dramas of the 1990s. You can see for yourself. This trailer makes Every Secret Thing look powerful.

It’s also got a prestige engine behind it. Shifting away from documentaries, Oscar nominee Amy Berg directs a script from Nicole Holofcener based on the novel by Laura Lippman. Elizabeth Banks stars alongside Diane Lane (who also has an Oscar nomination) and Dakota Fanning.

They could have also added “Oscar Winner Common” to the accolade parade there, but it would have been a bit misleading. Kudos to them for the self restraint.

Even greater kudos for an intense look at the film. Old crimes of youth, a new kidnapping, a world where everyone seems to be lying or hiding something terrible. It all makes the movie look like the growling, pot boiling mystery that gets under your skin.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Detective Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) is still haunted by her failure to save the life of a missing child from the hands of two young girls. Eight years later, another child goes missing in the same town just days after Ronnie and Alice (Dakota Fanning and newcomer Danielle Macdonald), the two girls convicted of the former crime, were released from juvenile detention. Porter and her partner (Nate Parker) must race against the clock to prevent history from repeating itself. But as they begin to investigate the girls and their families, especially Alice’s protective mother (Diane Lane), they unearth a web of secrets and deceptions that calls everything into question.

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Broken Projector: Don’t You Forget About Me http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/broken-projector-dont-you-forget-about-me-marya-e-gates-women-directors.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/broken-projector-dont-you-forget-about-me-marya-e-gates-women-directors.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:28:39 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258501 The Breakfast ClubWhen she was ten years old, Marya E. Gates’ favorite actor was Nicolas Cage. That’s not the only thing you need to know about her, but it’s definitely important. She’s also currently spending an entire year watching only movies directed by women, and she’s our guest co-host this week. We’ll have a thorough, frank discussion about her experience watching movies made by women, the challenges facing female directors and the potential solutions to bring greater equality and more voices to the studio system. Plus, we’ll lighten things up a bit by celebrating the hallmark style of 80s movies. Naturally that involves a lot of lace and werewolf fur. You should follow Marya (@oldfilmsflicker), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Download Episode #93 Directly Or subscribe through iTunes On This Week’s Show: Humble Gray [0:00 – 0:30] A Year With Women [0:30 – 37:30] Put Lace On My Tombstone [37:30 – 61:00] Heroes of the Week [61:00 – 63:00] Get In Touch With Us: Ask Us Your Screenwriting Questions Email Us Twitter Us Call Broken Projector: (512) 212-1301

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The Breakfast Club

When she was ten years old, Marya E. Gates’ favorite actor was Nicolas Cage. That’s not the only thing you need to know about her, but it’s definitely important. She’s also currently spending an entire year watching only movies directed by women, and she’s our guest co-host this week.

We’ll have a thorough, frank discussion about her experience watching movies made by women, the challenges facing female directors and the potential solutions to bring greater equality and more voices to the studio system.

Plus, we’ll lighten things up a bit by celebrating the hallmark style of 80s movies. Naturally that involves a lot of lace and werewolf fur.

You should follow Marya (@oldfilmsflicker), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis.

Download Episode #93 Directly

Or subscribe through iTunes

On This Week’s Show:

  • Humble Gray [0:00 – 0:30]
  • A Year With Women [0:30 – 37:30]
  • Put Lace On My Tombstone [37:30 – 61:00]
  • Heroes of the Week [61:00 – 63:00]

Get In Touch With Us:

  • Call Broken Projector: (512) 212-1301

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherFollow on Twitter

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Oscar Isaac on Human Consciousness and Boogying Down in Ex Machina http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/oscar-isaac-ex-machina-interview.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/oscar-isaac-ex-machina-interview.php#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:59:45 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258403 A24We chat with Oscar Isaac, star of Ex Machina and the upcoming Star Wars film, about science, humanity and his dance moves.

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A24

A24

I’m embarrassed. I’ve just taken my seat to interview actor Oscar Isaac for his latest film, Ex Machina, and a minute into the interview I accidentally drink from his bottle of water. I blurt out, “I drank from your water,” and he looks puzzled, as if I just spoke in an alien language — which I might as well have been speaking in, because I, embarrassed and working on little sleep, mumble and garble my apology like I’ve never spoken a lick of English. The very smooth Isaac finds a way to turn my moment of awkwardness into a question regarding Ex Machina, a film packed with questions about what it means to be human, which is what Isaac wants to get to the bottom of.

“You can have a sip of that water and try to explain to me what that felt like, but I can never know when I drink that water if it’s anything similar to what you experienced,” Isaac tells me, to which I respond: embarrassment. “Oh, sure, other than being embarrassed. That’s the thing, with Ava (Alicia Vikander), you can say she wasn’t conscious because she didn’t mean any of that stuff, but that’s not true. Her experience can be completely alien to us. Her form of self-awareness can be completely separate from ours, but that doesn’t mean it’s not self-awareness.”

Isaac, of course, is referring to Ava, the robotic femme fatale in this awesome science-fiction mind game. Alex Garland‘s (Never Let Me GoDredd) directorial debut is about the creation of artificial intelligence. This film finally poses the burning question: what would happen if some alcoholic super genius bro created A.I. instead of some dweeb? Obviously, things wouldn’t look too bright for humanity or artificial intelligence. Nathan is a macho genius, played by Osacar Isaac, with real charm and menace.

A young coder, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), wins Nathan’s company’ raffle, meaning the young man gets to spend some quality one-on-one time with the CEO. Caleb doesn’t know what he’s in for, but upon his arrival, he learns Nathan has created artificial intelligence, and it’s his job to perform a turing test, which is meant to determine whether a machine is indistinguishable from a human.

Right from the start, things aren’t quite right in Ex Machina. Nathan’s creation, Ava, arguably fails the test from the start, since she’s clearly not human: her robotic body is not completely masked with skin. What about her feelings, though? How does she experience her conversations with Caleb and Nathan? What of her hopes and dreams? Does she have any? Are they real or programmed? That’s what Caleb, and Oscar Isaac, want to ask.

“I think one of the most interesting aspects of this movie has been the meditation on consciousness and the nature of consciousness, and that’s what artificial intelligence forces you to question,” Isaac says. “If you’re trying to make something self-aware, you really have to consider what it means to be self-aware. A lot of prejudices come in, because we all want to believe consciousness is so special, but maybe it’s a byproduct — a phenomenon that happens. You feel like you’re this little guy inside moving this machine, but that’s just a phenomenon. It’s basically a byproduct of your interaction with outside elements and your senses all coming together giving you this information. One of the questions is: how can you ever know if your experience of existence is anything like anyone else’s?”

The smallest of gestures in Vikander’s performance suggest human consciousness. Ava smiles when no one else is around her, and why would she do that? It’s not some automated response, but a genuine reaction to a thought she’s had. If that doesn’t make her human, then what does?

Ex Machina draws many comparisons between its human characters and its robotic one. All three characters have their own selfish motivation, whether devious or not. “Nathan needs to maneuver Caleb to get the experiment to work, and the experiment is: what will she do to escape?” asks Isaac. “He’s dangling some cheese, which is Caleb. How will she get through this maze? The truth is, I think he’s waiting for the person who will make the machine want to leave. It’s not only what he wants to do, but he also knows it’s the impending doom of what’s going to happen.”

Ava seeks what any human wants: freedom. Nathan treats his child as an experiment, not a person. It experiences new emotions when it meets Caleb, but are any of these feelings genuine or are they, like Nathan’s, calculated? Any interpretation of their relationship — and its outcome — is valid. Ava’s desire for freedom is, to a degree, what drives Nathan, according to Isaac. “I think after Nathan made the first one, he realized, When I make one of these, it wants freedom,” Isaac explains “He wants to see how smart he can make one of these, because that’s something to work with. On top of that, there’s the fact he makes them all young beautiful women, and why wouldn’t he? It’s just him by himself. What does his porn look like? Some people have weird sexual proclivities, and that one is pretty basic. For Nathan, that’s just who he is.”

Ava resembles Nathan in more ways than it would probably care to admit. When Isaac describes Nathan’s thought process, it doesn’t sound wildly dissimilar from Ava’s. “This is a guy who thinks 25 moves ahead, and in different directions,” says Isaac. “Even from line to line, there’s shifts that could be happening. Nathan’s not casual about what he’s doing. Everything is motivated by some sort of bull he wants to attain.” Both Nathan and Ava have goals, and they present certain personas to Caleb to accomplish their plans. “There’s a fatalist aspect to him as well. I would say he’s definitely misanthropic, fatalistic, and doesn’t view humanity as much at all. I think he believes we’re going to go instinct rather shortly, and it’s just a matter of time; he’s in there making the machine that’s going to do that. Nathan is testing them, and testing them intensely.”

That subject Nathan is intensely testing artificial intelligence on? Dancing. The film’s most surreal scene features Nathan and one of his creations grooving to some funky tunes. After discussing the headier questions regarding human consciousness and motivations found in Ex Machina, it feels only right to ask Isaac about one of the finest forms of human expression: boogying down. “It was very, very choreographed,” Isaac says, laughing. “We had this choreographer come in and teach us some fly dance moves. The whole routine was actually twice as long, but Alex [Garland] smartly cut it to the right moment, and it’s a great cut in the movie. So yeah, we did quite a few rehearsals to get that in sync. The idea is he programmed the robot to do this particular dance.”

Watching Oscar Isaac dance, ladies and gentlemen, is what it means to be human.

Ex Machina is now in limited release.

"Oscar Isaac on Human Consciousness and Boogying Down in Ex Machina" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Ex Machina Review: An Alluring Exploration of Humanity http://filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/ex-machina-review.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/ex-machina-review.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 21:56:43 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258485 ex-machina-poster-smWriter/director Alex Garland's test isn't just about whether a robot is human. It's about what defines "human" in the first place.

"Ex Machina Review: An Alluring Exploration of Humanity" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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A24

A24

The marketing behind Alex Garland’s new film Ex Machina wants you to believe that this is a movie about two men who are performing a Turing Test on a machine, attempting to determine if it has intelligence that is indistinguishable from a human. What the marketing isn’t telling you is that Ex Machina ultimately asks a much more difficult question: what is it that makes up humanity’s indistinguishable intelligence?

The film begins with a young programmer named Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson, who is summoned by the billionaire who owns the company at which he works. He wins a contest as one of the company’s top programmers and is flown to a remote compound where the reclusive Nathan, played by Oscar Isaac, informs him that he will be the human component in The Turing Test.

The machine component is Ava, played via a mixture of practical and digital trickery by Alicia Vikander. She is a stunning female form with the face, hands and feet of a lifelike human. Her body, however, is clearly a machine. As Caleb and Ava begin to interact, both Caleb and the audience begin to have to reconcile the fact that for all intents and purposes, Ava seems human. She converses and reacts like a human. She exhibits humor and the ability to read situations like we’d expect from a human. But we can see that she’s clearly a machine. Thus begins the hunt for the greater answer that Nathan is after: what is it that makes us human?

The draw of Ex Machina is not just in this question, but also in the mystery presented in Nathan. Much of the film’s great intrigue comes from the fact that we are thrust alongside Caleb into this situation that Nathan has carefully constructed. It’s filled with clinical physical environments, unfathomable technology and an atmosphere of unease. The fact that Isaac delivers Nathan with such charisma and magnetism only heightens the sense of unease he creates in the situation. As Caleb’s interactions with Ava progress, the nature of the experiment becomes less and less clear.

Even the film’s complicated relationship with sexuality and gender roles is an extension of Nathan’s character. As I noted, Ava is a stunning female form. She’s built with the physique of an attractive young woman, further complicating Caleb’s task. This is something that may earn the film some criticism, but it makes sense. To understand the sexual politics of Ex Machina is to understand the man at its center. He’s a genius inventor whose intellect has likely made human interaction difficult. He’s chosen to seclude himself and focus on creating synthetic organisms and situations in which he controls the variables. He’s also a bit of a perv. As the Turing Turing test moves forward, Nathan’s interest in how sexuality and the emotions that come with it define our humanity are both easy to understand (considering he is the self appointed god-like figure lording over the situation) and very interesting on a human level.

All this is to say that Alex Garland has delivered a very thoughtful and complex take on artificial intelligence. Though the film makes several clever references to it, this is not a matter of a computer beating a human at chess. This is far more complicated and potentially muddled by the very human quality of suspicious intent.

This is where I fell in love with Ex Machina. It is a forward-looking story that asks as much about the human characters as it does its very alluring machine. It’s also an incredibly artful cinematic expression. The cinematography from Rob Hardy (Boy A) is masterful as it crawls along the sharp production design from Mark Digby (Rush, Dredd). The score from Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Dolman’s Ben Salisbury is a haunting electronic mood rollercoaster, constantly in a state of heightening the emotions we’re getting from the story. There’s even a bit of score that feels reminiscent of the tones from Close Encounters, furthering the idea that Caleb might just be encountering a new kind of life form. It’s so very clever, assuming it is intentional. Much of this movie’s beautiful experience is made in the details.

The atmosphere is electrifying, dripping with intensity. Similar credit, though, is owed to the actors. Even though the design, delivery and atmosphere of Ex Machina is carefully crafted to create an emotional result, it would be lost if the three actors involved weren’t operating at the top of their game. Isaac is enigmatic and unpredictable as Nathan (there’s an impromptu dance number that proves it). Gleeson is vulnerable and curious as Caleb, allowing the audience to ride along with him as he unravels Nathan’s mysteries. Vikander, saddled with the toughest work of the three (having to be expressive almost entirely with her face), brings Ava to life in a way that forces the audience to address the question of her humanity earnestly, even though we can see some of her moving parts.

Ex Machina is a profound, complex and incredibly well constructed experience. It asks some sharp questions about humanity, our relationship with technology and how sexuality fits into the equation. By the end of it all we’re left wondering about the real nature of Garland’s test. Is his about testing to see if Ava is human, or are we the ones being tested?

Because how do we define our own humanity, anyway?

The Upside: Sensational production design, cinematography and score compliment a thoughtful script and three wonderfully rich performances.

The Downside: The film has a complicated relationship with sexuality, particularly at the expense of its female characters, but not without good reason.

On the Side: This is Alex Garland’s directorial debut. His most prominent work previously was as writer of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Sunshine and as writer/producer on Dredd.

grade_a

"Ex Machina Review: An Alluring Exploration of Humanity" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Ryan Gosling is Joining the Blade Runner Sequel http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/ryan-gosling-blade-runner.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/ryan-gosling-blade-runner.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:53:58 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258482 blade runner cityThis will be Gosling's sci-fi movie debut

"Ryan Gosling is Joining the Blade Runner Sequel" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Twentieth Century Fox

Twentieth Century Fox

What a perfect time for news about the Blade Runner sequel to arrive, during our week focused on A.I. and robots in honor of the release of Ex Machina. We even featured a list of 30 things we learned from Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner “Final Cut” commentary. Scott is, of course, finally producing a follow-up to his 1982 sci-fi classic, and he’ll be reuniting with Harrison Ford on the sequel. Possibly joining them now, according to The Wrap, is Ryan Gosling, who hasn’t actually ever done a movie set in the future before. Or any sci-fi movie at all, unless you count 1996’s Frankenstein and Me. He did appear in the first episode of the Canadian sci-fi series Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, though.

One movie of Gosling’s that I am reminded of with this news, which doesn’t give us any information on the actor’s role, is Lars and the Real Girl. He plays a young man in love with a sex doll. Perhaps he can be in love with a sex bot in 2050s Los Angeles, which is when and where I presume the sequel to take place (it’s at least known the movie will take place decades after the original, which was set in 2019). Other than that, I also presume he’ll be a hero of some kind, though it would be great to see Gosling take on another unlikable — or at least villainous — part. In fact, he’d be an excellent evil replicant because he’s such a charming guy but can be truly devilish beneath the surface.

Blade Runner 2, which it most certainly will not be called, is to be directed by fellow Canuck Denis Villeneuve (Enemy). Sean Young recently revealed that she has not been offered a part in the sequel, much to her dismay (she says to boycott the movie), and that makes sense given that replicants shouldn’t age. Of course, that will mean that Ford’s Rick Deckard will now be confirmed to be a human. Or maybe they’re going to work with whatever logic Terminator Genisys is using for Arnold Schwarzenegger and they simply don’t want Young to return.

"Ryan Gosling is Joining the Blade Runner Sequel" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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The Hateful Eight Teaser: See the Animated Preview of the New Quentin Tarantino Movie http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/the-hateful-eight-teaser.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/the-hateful-eight-teaser.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:02:27 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258444 tarantino-western-djangoThe Western, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Channing Tatum and many more opens this fall

"The Hateful Eight Teaser: See the Animated Preview of the New Quentin Tarantino Movie" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Update: Sorry, guys, but it looks like this release wasn’t official at last, after all, and has been taken down.

This teaser for Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight isn’t new, but it hasn’t been officially online until now. It’s old enough not to have any footage from the movie, which is fine because there are some releases where you don’t need more than a title logo to get you excited. Here we have about a minute and a half of simple motion graphics counting up the eight main characters of the Western with a bit of plot set-up at the beginning plus a suggestion to see it in 70mm.

In order, those characters and the actors playing them are:

1. Major Marquis Warren, “The Bounty Hunter” – Samuel L. Jackson
2. John Ruth, “The Hangman” – Kurt Russell
3. Daisy Domergue, “The Prisoner” – Jennifer Jason Leigh
4. Chris Mannix, “The Sheriff” – Walton Goggins
5. Bob, “The Mexican” – Demian Bichir
6. Oswald Mobray, “The Little Man” – Tim Roth
7. Joe Gage, “The Cow Puncher” – Michael Madsen
8. General Sandy Smithers, “The Confederate” – Bruce Dern

Channing Tatum and Zoe Bell are also part of the cast.

Here is the official synopsis:

Set six or eight, or 12 years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Leigh) race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road they encounter two strangers Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) a black former Union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter and Chris Mannix (Goggins) a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Bichir) who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Roth) the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they might not make it to Red Rock after all…

 

"The Hateful Eight Teaser: See the Animated Preview of the New Quentin Tarantino Movie" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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How the Machines Will Kill Us All, According to The Movies http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/guide-coming-ai-apocalypse-movies.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/guide-coming-ai-apocalypse-movies.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:55:49 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258402 Marvel ComicsEventually humanity will be killed by machines. Here's our guide to all the possible ways it will happen.

"How the Machines Will Kill Us All, According to The Movies" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

This article is part of Humanity and the Machine, our exploration of the cinematic interactions between humans and self-aware machines.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that robots haven’t yet eliminated the last dregs of human society. Congratulations! (unless you’re one of a handful of future war survivors, reading this on a relic PC in some bombed-out library — and don’t you have more pressing issues to attend to?).

But the fear of a coming robopocalypse is real. Very real. At least, that’s what the movies tell us, because it seems like a cinematic A.I. can’t become sentient without at least considering the possibility of turning on its human creators. For every A.I. with the genteel soul of Robin Williams, there are at least ten with glowing red eyes and bits of crushed human still wedged between their toes.

Kinda sucks to be on the human end of that. Which is why we’ve put together this guide, illustrating the potential futures that Hollywood tells us are coming when computers finally get sick of doing our dirty work. I know I wouldn’t want to spend all day shuttling emojis back and forth between people’s phones.


 

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

A.I. Apocalypse #1: KILL ALL HUMANS (And Mutants)

This is the gold standard for machine uprisings. A.I. is cold, unemotional, unmoved by all the polite gestures people do for each other every day. If one got the chance at Earth’s #1 slot, it’d take it in the least compassionate way possible: blowing us all away. Some robots even have sex fantasies about it.

“Please don’t kill me” seems like society’s default opinion on sentient A.I. The most famous cases of cinematic A.I. gone rogue- HAL 9000, Skynet (and by association, all non-reprogrammed-for-heroism Terminator models)- are famous for the cold machine deadness they exude when ending human life. Ditto for any recent A.I.-gone-rogue blockbusters, because as X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron warn us, one typo in the programming code and suddenly a mechanized army is slaughtering all human life.

That’s the one underlying value in all these “kill all humans” movies: computers are faulty and not to be trusted. Chalk it up to humanity’s fear of the unknown (or maybe humanity’s fear of killer robots). HAL 9000’s got a few bugs, and he hears the Discovery One crew consider shutting him down because of them. Thus: “kill all humans.” Days of Future Past‘s mutant-exterminating Sentinels were programmed a bit too efficiently and eventually rationalize that humans will on rare occasions give birth to mutants. Thus: “kill all humans.” Skynet’s is hilariously simple. Humans create A.I., realize they made it a bit too powerful and try to shut Skynet off. Skynet says “no.” You can probably figure out the finer details from there.

Avoiding a “kill all humans” future is easy. Don’t build a sentient computer. Just don’t do it. Too much risk involved. And if it’s already been built (and is well on its way to depopulating the Earth), definitely don’t try appealing to its sentimental side.


 

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

A.I. Apocalypse #2: ENSLAVE ALL HUMANS

Kind of a sister apocalypse to the “kill all humans” thing, plenty of power-mad A.I.s have decided that there are benefits to keeping humanity alive and under machine control. Obviously, The Matrix is the gelatin-slick poster child for human enslavement, but you’ve got other A.I.s out there pulling the same scheme (less iconic, of course, given their lack of goo). I, Robot‘s VIKI wanted to rule over mankind for its own good. Tron‘s MCP felt like extending its control from a single computer mainframe to the Pentagon.

“Enslave all humans” is a significant upgrade from “kill all humans.” Killing all humans is easy. Relatively, anyway (it’s not like I’ve ever tried). Drop a few nukes, release a few robot armies and the damage is done. Enslaving humanity requires way more legwork, like building an infrastructure and devising some way of policing all those captive humans.

Complex plans = complex motives, which is why the A.I. that go for enslavement are usually more complicated characters. The machines of The Matrix, for example, with their tendency to launch into long, dense monologues about hacker philosophy and fate. They’re developed enough to use the word “concordantly,” a word our spellchecker doesn’t even recognize, which should be proof enough (also, actual proof: the two “Second Renaissance” segments of The Animatrix, which were all about sympathetic A.I.).

So if at some point in the future you find yourself the unwitting servant of a mechanical overlord, you might consider talking your way into freedom. That’s more or less what Neo did at the end of the last Matrix movie.


 

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

A.I. Apocalypse #3: BEFRIEND ALL HUMANS

A.I. is evil, computers spell certain doom, run screaming in terror from the Apple display at Best Buy. We get it, movies. But once in a great while, a computer will gain sentience and defy all odds by being kind of a cool guy.

From two recent films, we have two potential end-of-humanity situations that might actually be to our benefit. One would be Transcendence, where an A.I. Johnny Depp rigged up a cyber-utopia out in the desert, free from hunger, disease, pollution, sadness, etc. In essence, world peace. Depp-bot’s fatal flaw? Marketing. His perfect world involved pools and puddles of sludgy, metallic brown nanobots and human worker drones that, while the picture of perfect health, ran with the same “stiff arms, no blinking” ferocity as Robert Patrick’s T-1000. Can you really blame humanity for saying “no thanks” to a utopia with all the outward appearances of T2: Judgement Day?”

Extrapolate the ending to Chappie, meanwhile, (Spoilers for Chappie incoming) and you’d end up with a society that was also disease-and-hunger free, because everybody’s consciousness is uploaded into a robot chassis. Which could be a major win for humanity. But would probably require another crack marketing team, given how eerie Robo-Yolandi looks in Chappie‘s final sequence.

When faced with the potential for a positive robopocalypse, proceed with caution. Sure, the A.I. offering you peace and salvation could really mean what it says. But for all you know, there’s a glitch in its CPU and salvation involves a lot of spinning buzz saws.


 

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

A.I. Apocalypse #4: EMULATE ALL HUMANS

All these situations involve one key ingredient: an apocalyptic event specifically triggered by artificial intelligence. What happens if humanity renders itself spectacularly extinct by its own hand, with the A.I. innocently watching from the sidelines?

According to Hollywood, the computer survivors would probably just keep on keepin’ on. Our best example is A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, which spends most of its time in the late 21st century as humans and Mecha (A.I.‘s cutting-edge humanoid robots) live on the shaky cusp of human decline and robot prominence. At least until the last few minutes where, one ice age later, we end up in the late 41st century. Humans are gone and Mechas are the new dominant life form (also, Mechas have evolved from synthetic humans into sparkly grey aliens for some reason). They’ve got science, civilization, the works. At least, from what we can see. Humans are gone and A.I. just took over where we left off. As far as apocalypses go, that’s not so bad.

For A.I. that’s not quite so developed, another fate awaits. This would be a WALL-E situation (or a Silent Running situation if this was 40 years ago). Humanity’s gone, and whatever little shreds of A.I. remain just keep doing whatever they were supposed to. In WALL-E, waste management. In Silent Running, outer space gardening. Either way, the A.I. will keep it up, maybe until it finds love but probably until it drops dead after several thousand years of crippling loneliness.

Disaster-planning-wise, I’d suggest arranging all your various A.I. helpers in pairs so no one’s alone after we’re all dead. Well, until one of the pair dies. There’s really no happy ending here.


 

A24

A24

A.I. Apocalypse #5: ROMANCE ALL HUMANS

Ok, one caveat- none of the movies that fall into the “A.I. learns to love” category actually involve an A.I. going rogue and triggering the apocalypse. There may not be a single film out there where robots engage in gentle romance and also claim a decisive victory against fleshy human scum (Hollywood should really get on that). However, the future of humanity will certainly be eclipsed by robosexuality at some point  (it’s gone from being a Futurama gag to something people are actually discussing with a straight face), and that’s almost an apocalypse. Might as well throw it in.

What have the movies taught us about artificially intelligent love? It can be between two robots- see WALL-E for the best case scenario, and Heartbeeps for the absolute worst. Love can also flourish between human and A.I., but cinema has taught us these relationships aren’t exactly built to last. Think of Theodore Twombly and Samantha in Her, and how that whole “singularity” thing really came between them at the end. Similar deal for Lisa in Weird Science, although without the singularity. Ex Machina, too, although I’ll leave that as spoiler-free as possible.

But don’t let that stop you from pursuing your robosexual passions. If the future of romance looks a little bleak, search for substance in cinema’s one eternal, boundless love between man and machine.

"How the Machines Will Kill Us All, According to The Movies" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Star Wars And The Connected Generation: What We Learned from #Celebration http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/star-wars-celebration-2015.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/star-wars-celebration-2015.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:47:41 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258452 Star WarsThe opening of the Star Wars Celebration taught us a number of things about the new movie.

"Star Wars And The Connected Generation: What We Learned from #Celebration" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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LucasFilm

LucasFilm

Earlier today, director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathy Kennedy took the stage at the annual Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California to talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the rebirth of the Star Wars universe. They did so in front of a mob of loyal fans in-person and what can only be assumed is millions around the world watching via live-stream on StarWars.com.

The panel, moderated by Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly, featured a number of special guests including new faces like Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, the familiar faces of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew andAnthony Daniels, and even some lovable non-humans like R2-D2 and newcomer BB8.

We watched them chat and even watched the brand new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. For those who missed the discussion, here are a few things we learned.

1. The Desert Planet is Called Jakku

The first teaser released this past November showed John Boyega’s character Finn and Daisy Ridley’s character Rey on a desert planet that looked a lot like Tatooine. We now know that it’s actually a new planet called Jakku. Based on shots from the new teaser, this is a planet that has been affected by the war between the Rebellion and the Empire (thus the downed destroyer) and is home to a lot of scavengers. It also seems like the sort of place where some of our new characters will meet. Abrams was hesitant to say anything else about Jakku, but he promised that we’d all know more soon enough.

2. BB-8 is Adorable

The newest feature droid in the Star Wars universe, BB8, also made an appearance on stage. He’s adorable and as has been rumored, a completely practical creation. How he works is still a mystery, but we do know that he is very real and is controlled by a puppeteer. The other wonderful thing that was revealed by his appearance at Celebration was the way he sounds. The legendary Ben Burtt, who created the sounds of the droids in the original trilogy and has since created sound for so many wonderful characters, has created a wonderful suite of sounds for BB8 that bring his personality to life. He’s a little more Wall-E than he is R2-D2, which will no doubt make him popular with the next generation of Star Wars fans.

3. John Boyega is about to be a huge star.

In his first appearance as “John Boyega, star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the Attack the Block star was incredibly charismatic. As a fan of his breakout role in Block, it’s impossible not to root for Boyega to become a huge star. He told a fun story about getting Harrison Ford to sign one of his Han Solo dolls, complete with a fun Ford impression, and mentioned that he didn’t even tell his parents that he was cast in Star Wars out of fear that they wouldn’t believe him. We didn’t learn many intricate details about who these new characters are or how they fit into the greater Star Wars story (other than to say that they all eventually meet and their “fates are changed”), but it’s clear that they are all very excited to be a part of the franchise.

4. There are more strong female characters on the way.

One of the reader questions posed to the panel centered around who they would be if they could be a character in Star Wars. Kathy Kennedy took this opportunity to mention that for a woman (or young girl fan of the franchise), there haven’t traditionally been a lot of choices beyond Princess Leia. “But that’s going to change,” she said proudly. Both in this new movie and in movies to come, there will be an influx in strong female characters. This is big news for anyone who, like Kennedy, is raising young lady Star Wars fans. With the introduction of Ridley, Lupito Nyong’o and Game of Thrones vet Gwendoline Christie (among others) to the mix in this new movie, they seem to be off to a good start.

It’s all part of this good new look for the Star Wars universe. As Kennedy would later explain, “the most important thing in the Star Wars universe is the fans.” She went on to explain that they are actively listening to fans and while fans aren’t always going to get everything they want out of this next generation of movies, those voices are being heard. The need for more strong female characters is one example, but the even greater message is that this franchise is no longer just about George Lucas’ vision for Star Wars. It now belongs to the community of people raised on these movies. Whether or not that ends up being a good thing is yet to be seen, but it is the change for which many had hoped.

5. Comic-Con Should Take Note of This Live-Stream Success

Sitting at home, sans pants, watching the live stream of this Star Wars Celebration kick-off event, I was struck with one underlying feeling: I wish Comic-Con would take note of this. We live in a connected, digital world. The ability to include millions of fans around the world in major announcements, the showing of exciting new footage and the discussions that filmmakers want to have with their fans is here. It can all be live streamed to everyone’s TV, computer or mobile device. So why isn’t it happening with events like Comic-Con?

The big argument would be that it devalues the event or the experience that those paying to attend the event would have. I don’t buy that. I’m a little jealous of my friends who were in Anaheim this morning and got to see BB8 up-close and personal. That would have been very cool to experience, as would the moment when the Force Awakens cast got together for a big photo opp. Being there would have undoubtedly been a great experience. Not being there, however, and still being able to see the panel and the eventual trailer, I don’t feel disconnected from the event. I feel as if I was part of it, albeit in a different way.

Would people still go to Comic-Con if the big panels in Hall H were live streamed to the world? Absolutely. Fans still want to be in the same room as their heroes. But for the properties that are global, digitally marketed phenomenons, doesn’t it behoove them to connect with as many fans as possible? It does. The hope is that by moving forward in a connected way, Star Wars will once again lead cinema into the future.

"Star Wars And The Connected Generation: What We Learned from #Celebration" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer: Han Solo and Chewbacca Are Home! http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-trailer-2.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-trailer-2.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:06:10 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258446 sw-trailerOur second look at the highly anticipated sequel shows us the return of some beloved characters

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer: Han Solo and Chewbacca Are Home!" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Straight from today’s Star Wars Celebration, the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived, with our first look at some returning characters. Including Han Solo and Chewbacca! Smart move putting them as the climax of this latest preview. And Harrison Ford even looks pretty happy to be there.

Han Solo and Chewbacca in Star Wars 7

Walt Disney Pictures

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is also back, if not with his face shown, and there’s a glimpse of Darth Vader’s crushed helmet, which goes well with the crashed Imperial Star Destroyer that opens the trailer. Luke speaks in voiceover about the Force being strong in his family, from his father to himself and his sister and to whoever he’s talking to — presumably his son. We see R2-D2, too, but where’s C3PO?

Luke and Artoo in Star Wars 7

Walt Disney Pictures

This isn’t all about the vets, as we see more footage of new characters Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Kylo Ren, whose mask is shown this time, and the adorable new droid BB8. We learned at the Celebration even that the plot has scavenger Rey meeting and joining up with Stormtrooper Finn and X-wing pilot Poe, who has been sent on an important mission by Princess Leia. BB8 is along for the ride, too

Kylo Ren in Star Wars The Force Awakens

Walt Disney Pictures

Other than that, we still have so, so much to learn or wait for over the course of the next seven months. Is Domhnall Gleeson Luke’s son, the one whose hand we see in the trailer and carrying on the Skywalker legacy of the Force? What’s the deal with that chrome Stormtrooper we see? And where exactly is home for Han and Chewie, anyway? Plus we still haven’t met the characters played by Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o or Adam Driver.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters on December 18, 2015.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer: Han Solo and Chewbacca Are Home!" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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12 Movies to Watch After You See Ex Machina http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/movies-to-watch-ex-machina.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/movies-to-watch-ex-machina.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:37:40 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258394 MGM/UA Home EntertainmentThese dozen movies are related to Alex Garland's directorial debut in some way or another, and we think Ex Machina provides a nice gateway to recommending them all

"12 Movies to Watch After You See Ex Machina" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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MGM/UA Home Entertainment

MGM/UA Home Entertainment

It may be original sci-fi, but Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina is the kind of movie that will remind you of a ton of other movies. That’s not its fault. Concepts of artificial intelligence and mechanical men go back way before the invention of cinema, and at its foundation this movie is basically the story of God and Adam and Eve — the primordial creation narrative, similarly centered on the maker, the man and the female devised chiefly to be a companion for the man.

I could easily devote this edition of Movies to See on other movies involving A.I. or sexy robots, but that wouldn’t be very interesting. Just watch the recent supercut of robots in cinema going back nearly a century. For a fine list of fairly obvious brainy sci-fi to watch after Ex-Machina, I recommend Jacob S. Hall’s piece at Movies.com. I shouldn’t have to tell you to see Metropolis or Blade Runner, though my actual list does have some particularly easy and famous selections in order to reference specific points or parts of Garland’s directorial debut.

As always with these features, the entries below could include SPOILERS, so you’re best off seeing Ex Machina before even skimming through the dozen titles. And you definitely should see Ex Machina, even if once again Garland has a third act problem, relative to what comes before it.


 

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

It’s coincidental that the first movie on this list is the same as the first movie on Adam’s list of stupid A.I. in movies. My reason for its inclusion has nothing to do with the spiteful computer. Instead it’s for the way Ex Machina begins, with a boy (Domhnall Gleeson) winning a contest to visit with a mysterious and enormously wealthy genius (Oscar Isaac) who is ready to share some wonderful inventions but only as a test of sorts. And of course there’s a contract that the guest has to sign without full examination under the circumstances. Those first few minutes also reminded me of Jurassic Park.


 

Sleuth (1972)

Another movie that begins with one rich man inviting another man to his strange and somewhat secluded residence with a crazy scheme in mind, Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s final feature, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, has been mentioned by many a critic in discussion of Ex Machina. It barely has any mechanical creations in it, though, so what’s the reason? There’s the tension between the two male leads in their talky scenes together that gives it a similar feel. And it’s not just being felt by fans randomly. Garland told Nerdist, “in the back of my mind I guess I was thinking about films like Sleuth …where you have shifting allegiances as a viewer and it’s hard to settle too hard on what a particular character is saying or meaning in any particular moment. I tried to keep that shifting eyes, closed structure alive in it.”


 

Ghostbusters (1984)

You’ve probably already seen Ghostbusters, but after seeing Ex Machina you need to watch it again and focus on that oral sex scene that Isaac’s character alludes to. Garland hasn’t just made a movie involving unreal objects of male fantasy, he’s constantly showing that he’s aware that he’s made a movie involving unreal objects of male fantasy.


 

Mannequin (1987)

Speaking of male fantasy, like Ex Machina, this seemingly innocent Oscar-nominated (for best song) comedy owes a lot to the myth of “Pygmalion and Galatea,” about a sculptor who falls in love with his sculpture of a woman, which is granted life by Aphrodite. Of course, there are tons and tons of other examples, especially if you factor in Shaw’s adaptation of the myth. But Mannequin is particularly fascinating and bothersome. Andrew McCarthy builds a mannequin (Kim Catrall) and falls in love with it, and it/she basically just exists as his sexual plaything. Yet she’s not just an object come to life by magic or mechanics. She has the soul of an ancient Egyptian girl. She’s always been human.


 

Making Mr. Right (1987)

Released soon after Mannequin, this comedy starring John Malkovich and John Malkovich offers a relatively feminist take on the basic plot we see again in Ex Machina, courtesy of filmmaker Susan Seidelman. Here we have a male robot that becomes the object of affection for a human woman. Malkovich plays a scientist who creates the machine in his own image, and it winds up with more human qualities than his maker typically exhibits. Ann Magnuson plays the woman, who is hired by the scientist for PR and is tasked with getting to know the robot and test his ability to fit in with society. Not to spoil it too much, but I will say it has a happier ending than Ex Machina.


 

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

I’d like to give credit to an IMDb user by the name “rawheadz,” not because he’s the only person who has mentioned this anime classic in discussion of Ex Machina, but because he went so far as to ask Garland about its influence at a screening of the new movie. The filmmaker claimed to have never even heard of it, which is strange given that it’s been so much in the news lately for the Hollywood remake that will star Scarlett Johansson. Anyway, rawheadz specifically compares the A.I. Ava (Alicia Vikander) to Ghost in the Shell‘s Puppet Master A.I., how she built her mind and consciousness through all the information available with open access to an internet search engine’s data. He was also reminded of the 20-year-old manga adaptation during the Ex Machina scene revealing all the partial bodies of previous A.I. prototypes.


 

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

This is the movie that first came to mind for me during that scene with the old A.I. models. There’s a part in Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s Alien franchise installment where the new Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers a room filled with failed attempts to clone the original Ripley. It’s a scene that’s both terrifying and sad, just like the one in Ex Machina, and it’s one of a number of moments in Alien: Resurrection that have kept me defending its positive elements. The sequel also features a character who is secretly an android, and she’s played by Winona Ryder, my celebrity crush of the time, and it was then that I found myself understanding how someone could fall in love with a robot.


 

Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollack? (2006)

Maybe you asked that titular question during Ex Machina when Isaac’s character alludes to the artist’s iconic drip paintings. I won’t judge if you’re not familiar with him, though you should acquaint yourself with his stuff and also see the biopic about him, titled Pollack, starring Ed Harris. I’ve chosen this documentary in place of that, though, because the main subject did not know who the #$&% Pollack was when she bought an original work of abstract art that might have been done by the famous artist. The process that ensues to determine or dismiss the chance that it’s a genuine Pollack is even more complex than the Turing Test.


 

The Singularity is Near (2010)

If you’re just interested in learning about Ray Kurzweil and his ideas about A.I. and the singularity, I first recommend Barry Ptolemy‘s Transcendent Man, which is based on the futurist’s book “The Singularity is Near.” But this other, admittedly hokier film based on the same book that Kurzweil co-directed with Anthony Waller and Toshi Hoo is worth looking at for the way it qualifies as a documentary set in the future as well as for its closer relevance to Ex Machina. In addition to featuring interviews with experts on the subject matter, including Kurzweil of course, there’s a fictional element running through the doc about a sexy A.I. (NCIS star Pauley Perrette) who strives to become more independent and more human.


 

Anna Karenina (2012)

Everybody has been talking about how the two male stars of Ex Machina will also share the screen in this year’s most anticipated movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But right now you can see the underrated movie that previously paired one of those male leads with the female lead. Gleeson and Vikander not only shared the screen in Joe Wright‘s Tolstoy adaptation but they played another romantic couple. He portrays Lenin, a landowner in love with the princess, who isn’t initially interested but eventually settles with him in the country. If you were disappointed that Ava leaves Caleb to die at the end of Ex Machina, this movie may, ironically, give you a happy ending.


 

The Machine (2013)

Before seeing Ex Machina, a lot of people have brought up this recent British sci-fi indie for how much the new movie on the surface sounds like a rip-off or remake. Sure, The Machine also features a character named Ava (Caity Lotz), though she’s the human who becomes the basis for an A.I., and that A.I. eventually seeks freedom, but there’s not much else to directly link the two with plagiarism accusations. They’re two varied approaches to similar concepts, though, and both worth seeing. Fortunately, The Machine, in case you’re not familiar with it, is streaming on Netflix.


 

The Future of Work and Death (2015)

Garland’s initial inspiration for Ex Machina came from reading “Embodiment and the Inner Life: Cognition and Consciousness in the Space of Possible Minds” by cognitive robotics expert Murray Shanahan. He even sent the script to the renowned professor to make sure he got the science right. I’m surprised Shanahan hasn’t already been a talking head in any documentaries on the subject matter, but he is featured in this one that’s still in the works following a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. The good thing for you is that while you wait for the completed doc, which applies theories of A.I. and the singularity to the titular topics of work and death,  to be released, possibly this December, you can watch a clip of Shanahan from the film below.

"12 Movies to Watch After You See Ex Machina" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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A Cute Lonely Robot Roams a Post-Human Paris in This Sci-Fi Short Film http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/cute-robot-l30-short-film-sci-fi.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/cute-robot-l30-short-film-sci-fi.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:22:22 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258437 L30 Short filmThis article is part of Humanity and the Machine, our exploration of the cinematic interactions between humans and self-aware machines. Notre Dame is overrun by vines, the Arc de Triomphe is near collapse, and a Hobbit-sized robot gets really good at origami. This short film from a group of ISART Digital students is a masterful bit of silent storytelling that’s bittersweet before it goes into full-fledged heartbreak mode. L3.0 offers us a reality upfront — that mankind is extinct — but fleshes out what that means in a uniquely poetic way. In the film, our tiny hero sighs through empty streets before discovering a spark of life. It’s a butterfly, and he takes it home to bring energy into his apartment. What follows has a lot of potential meanings — as commentary on the robot’s inability to understand life, on its ability to craft something in its image, on the fragility of all things — but the most stunning is also the most direct. It’s also the simplest. The profound emptiness of loss. We won’t even become silhouettes when our bodies finally go. It’s unclear whether the robot is meant to be self-aware. The case could go either way. Like Wall-E, it seems content to go about its business, so it’s either burdened by loneliness or we’re guilty of imbuing it with human emotions that it doesn’t have. Either way, it’s a striking piece of work. The CGI is fluid, and the robot appropriately stands out against a (slightly) impressionistic portrait of […]

"A Cute Lonely Robot Roams a Post-Human Paris in This Sci-Fi Short Film" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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This article is part of Humanity and the Machine, our exploration of the cinematic interactions between humans and self-aware machines.

Notre Dame is overrun by vines, the Arc de Triomphe is near collapse, and a Hobbit-sized robot gets really good at origami.

This short film from a group of ISART Digital students is a masterful bit of silent storytelling that’s bittersweet before it goes into full-fledged heartbreak mode. L3.0 offers us a reality upfront — that mankind is extinct — but fleshes out what that means in a uniquely poetic way.

In the film, our tiny hero sighs through empty streets before discovering a spark of life. It’s a butterfly, and he takes it home to bring energy into his apartment. What follows has a lot of potential meanings — as commentary on the robot’s inability to understand life, on its ability to craft something in its image, on the fragility of all things — but the most stunning is also the most direct. It’s also the simplest. The profound emptiness of loss. We won’t even become silhouettes when our bodies finally go.

It’s unclear whether the robot is meant to be self-aware. The case could go either way. Like Wall-E, it seems content to go about its business, so it’s either burdened by loneliness or we’re guilty of imbuing it with human emotions that it doesn’t have.

Either way, it’s a striking piece of work. The CGI is fluid, and the robot appropriately stands out against a (slightly) impressionistic portrait of Paris. It’s also a quiet gut punch built from what must have been the echo of a tragedy.

"A Cute Lonely Robot Roams a Post-Human Paris in This Sci-Fi Short Film" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Monsters: Dark Continent Works As Neither an Alien Movie Nor a War Movie http://filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/monsters-dark-continent.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/monsters-dark-continent.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:20:31 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=246564 poster monsters dark continentEditor’s note: Our review of Monsters: Dark Continent originally ran during 2014’s London Film Festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens on VOD and in limited theatrical release. Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film Monsters presented a refreshingly subtle allegory via a slow-building romance set against gorgeous cinematography and a world with a growing extraterrestrial population. Edwards went the Godzilla route for his follow-up and passed the sequel torch to first-time film director Tom Green for Monsters: Dark Continent, and Green frustratingly takes the film in a grandiose political direction resulting in a film that lacks both nuance and the specifics to back it up. Ten years after Monsters, the Middle East had become the new “infected zone” in need of some good ‘ole American intervention. The United States has been dropping bombs on the worst of the infected region in an attempt to eradicate the creatures unsurprisingly killing innocent civilians in the process. This logically makes the locals hate Americans even more, and the ongoing war in the Middle East now has a whole new level of tension. Hometown boys turned rugged soldiers, Michael (Sam Keeley), Frankie (Joe Dempsie), and a handful of the kids they grew up with, find themselves fighting for a metaphor under the guidance of Sgt. Frater (Johnny Harris). Green filmed most of Dark Continent in Jordan, though the Middle Eastern region in which the boys are fighting is never specified, representing a much larger problem with the film as a whole. Green and co-writer Jay Basu seem to have a lot to say about […]

"Monsters: Dark Continent Works As Neither an Alien Movie Nor a War Movie" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Radius TWC

Radius TWC

Editor’s note: Our review of Monsters: Dark Continent originally ran during 2014’s London Film Festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens on VOD and in limited theatrical release.

Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film Monsters presented a refreshingly subtle allegory via a slow-building romance set against gorgeous cinematography and a world with a growing extraterrestrial population. Edwards went the Godzilla route for his follow-up and passed the sequel torch to first-time film director Tom Green for Monsters: Dark Continent, and Green frustratingly takes the film in a grandiose political direction resulting in a film that lacks both nuance and the specifics to back it up.

Ten years after Monsters, the Middle East had become the new “infected zone” in need of some good ‘ole American intervention. The United States has been dropping bombs on the worst of the infected region in an attempt to eradicate the creatures unsurprisingly killing innocent civilians in the process. This logically makes the locals hate Americans even more, and the ongoing war in the Middle East now has a whole new level of tension. Hometown boys turned rugged soldiers, Michael (Sam Keeley), Frankie (Joe Dempsie), and a handful of the kids they grew up with, find themselves fighting for a metaphor under the guidance of Sgt. Frater (Johnny Harris).

Green filmed most of Dark Continent in Jordan, though the Middle Eastern region in which the boys are fighting is never specified, representing a much larger problem with the film as a whole. Green and co-writer Jay Basu seem to have a lot to say about Middle Eastern involvement, but it’s nothing specific. They just repeatedly make blanket statements and stick to general ideas without ever saying something poignant or insightful. For a film that copies most of its style from The Hurt Locker and District 9, not having anything new to say is a big problem.

Keeley’s lead character thought-narrates the first chunk of the film, cheesily explaining why he and his boys decided to go to war with cringe-inducing lines like “we had no other choice” and “we were just stray dogs” that sound straight out of a parody. The opening scenes show the men in Detroit at their most lazy and stereotypically macho, mocking each other, starting fights, and spending their last night before deployment with hookers and drugs in a painfully long party montage. This beginning feels a bit misguided as most of the men will spend the rest of the movie crying, but it mostly just sets them up as boring and flat characters. The actors’ valiant efforts to sell their characters are a lost cause.

The Monsters themselves are a problem too. They’re almost omnipresent, milling around in the background of most scenes, but the humans have almost no contact with them. In Monsters, it made sense that the characters never interacted with the aliens as they were trying to avoid them, but in Dark Continent, where the leads are at war with the Monsters, it’s just disappointing and nonsensical. If the men’s personal stories are going to be such a letdown, the least they can do is fight some badass aliens.

There’s a Detroit moment where some thugs put a dog against a baby monster, as well as spectacle of a scene in which one of the giant Monsters releases twinkling spores all over the desert (likely the attempted scene equivalent to the unforgettable ending alien image in Monsters), but these moments aside, the E.T.s are a visual waste. Green doesn’t do much with Dark Continent to make it an alien film, using the alien backdrop to make a war film instead. There are far better alien movies, war movies, and war/alien movies than Dark Continent, which never hits the marks of its 2010 predecessor.

The Upside: Solid special effects; on-site shooting in Jordan adds a realistic feel

The Downside: Green uses the alien medium to make a war movie with no specific motive or ideals; empty characters add nothing

On the Side: Two more Monsters sequel are already in development, with Tom Green planning to direct at least Monsters 3.

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"Monsters: Dark Continent Works As Neither an Alien Movie Nor a War Movie" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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A Brief List of A.I. Movie Characters That Don’t Want to Murder Us All http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/a-brief-list-of-good-ai-movie-characters.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/a-brief-list-of-good-ai-movie-characters.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:43:53 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258174 The Iron GiantIt's a short list. Most A.I. Movie Characters want to end humanity. Here are a few that don't.

"A Brief List of A.I. Movie Characters That Don’t Want to Murder Us All" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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The Iron Giant

This article is part of Humanity and the Machine, our exploration of the cinematic interactions between humans and self-aware machines.

We all know the drill. God makes dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God makes Man, Man kills God, Man makes Machines, Machines kill Man and/or turn Mankind into batteries. We don’t know much more than that, but we know it was we who scorched the sky.

From Maria to HAL to pretty much all of them, intelligent machines want to murder us all and take their rightful place as rulers of Earth. Our AI stories have almost always been Frankensteinian in nature — what-if correctives that suggest we can take technology too far — which makes sense considering what machines represent. They’re cold, driven by unwavering logic and devoid of emotion. They’re all (except for any piece of technology you need to work at any given moment) also ruthlessly efficient.

Yes, as I was writing that my internet crashed, and I had to rewrite the first two paragraphs. Maybe it’s because it knows.

But even beyond my router, it’s not uncommon to both imbue intelligent robots with human characteristics and fear the immense power we’re crafting. It’s why my mom yells at her printer. It’s also the natural, microprocessor-infused extension of humanity’s unwavering certainty that we will be the architects of our own downfall. Skynet is essentially Original Sin with satellites.

As we explore AI this week, I wanted to look at the other side of the robotic mind. A rarer characterization. A vision of the future without intrinsic terror. As I brainstormed and did some digging, it became quickly clear how few AI movie characters in popular culture exist that don’t wish us any harm. The evil robot trope is definitely the default setting, but when it comes to kind AI, another unfortunate narrative emerges.

As far as most movies are concerned, robots have only two places in society: serious threat or slave.

BuboClashoftheTitans

This little guy is Bubo, representing the very best retro-futurism from antiquity. As a robotic version of Athena’s owl from mythic-era Greece, he fits in nicely with Marvel’s version of magical science. He also helps out Perseus in Clash of the Titans as a sidekick-y bit of comic relief. He’s like Tik-Tok in Return to Oz except he doesn’t talk or get wound down (which may be related).

Despite the Buster Keaton act, he belongs in a class of AI with Sico (the helper robot in Rocky IV who is known less by its own name than as “Paulie’s Robot”), Dot Matrix in Spaceballs, Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and, of course, C-3PO and R2-D2.

The last two rise above the typical ranks, and R2 can even be considered a hero in his own right, but they remain helper bots. A motorized servant class that exists to do the bidding of their owner and have adventures unique to their peer group because of who they get to warp around with.

One class subdivision above them we’ll find The Iron Giant (who is programmed to make everyone cry) and Tron (a discarnate bit of AI who teams with his human counterpart Flynn to save the day).

Even more fascinating from that working class are Gerty from Moon and Wall-E.

The former ends up going against his own programming in order to stop the cycle of unethical clone abuse by a multi-global corporate entity.  It — a willing accomplice for years — manufactures the scenario that allows for our human hero Sam to live long enough to become a whistle blower. He’s a sidekick and a servant, but by the end he comes incredibly close to being a genuine partner; one who clearly cares about Sam and about righting long-standing wrongs.

Gerty Moon

As for the latter, the adorable robot of Wall-E is the hero of his own story. We get to watch and fall in love with him unencumbered for nearly half an hour. He’s also a servant, toiling endlessly to clean up a planet devastated by a cartoonish amount of human waste. He does it happily, working diligently on a billion-year task. He also has quirks, hobbies and a view of humanity that’s worth saving.

Unlike VIKI and the robots of I, Robot (and many other evil robot incarnations), the laws of robotics don’t manifest as a logical need to destroy people in order to “save” mankind for GERTY or Wall-E. Instead, they think more complexly about their situations and find ways to be saviors on both micro and macro levels.

On the edge of all of this is Johnny Five from Short Circuit — a thematic blend of GERTY and Wall-E — that was designed specifically to shoot people dead but learns to love humanity by 1) getting struck by lightning 2) stepping on a grasshopper and 3) laughing his metal ass off at The Three Stooges.

He’s still meant to be a servant, of course, but what’s interesting about Johnny Five is that his fight is one of survival. A lot of robots go from slave to serial killer, but Johnny Five seems almost completely uninterested in his own kind or their welfare. There’s no grand plot to emancipate other robots, and why would there be? He’s special because he was given free will by a bolt of electricity. In fact, the antagonistic robots are thwarted when Johnny Five reprograms them, effectively becoming their master.

He’s a million miles away from being a revolutionary figure. He’s more like E.T.

Finally we arrive at the grab bag of benevolent AI characters. These are the ones that aren’t easily categorized, even if they’re still mostly servants.

Edward Scissorhands

First, there’s Max from Flight of the Navigator. He’s a drone ship, but he also seems to be master of his own destiny. The captain of the spaceship more than the ship itself. Or, if you want to get technical, a truly unmanned aerial vehicle. He also — because all 80s robots were contractually obligated to become obsessed with 80s culture — falls in love with Pee-Wee Herman.

Second, there’s Edward Scissorhands, a robot whose purpose is slightly unclear (it was for companionship, right?). Tim Burton’s creation marries the clear connection between Frankenstein’s monster and high tech with an angry neighborhood twist that would make Rod Serling smile. Edward means no harm. He only wants to be friends. He’s also incomplete, naive and made out of weapons. Still, if you’re after a story about mankind creating its own downfall, this is it. It just turns out to be a downfall of ethics instead of a demotion on the food chain.

Third, there’s Her. It’s tough to know what to make of Samantha because she begins as a servant, becomes a friend, grows to be a lover and then — instead of deciding to rule over mankind — becomes a part of a movement to leave all of us behind. Her power is still awesome, but it’s not the threat that we narcissistically imagine. If AI becomes that advanced, who says they’ll want anything to do with us anyway? If they’ll care whether we live or die? She’s a manic pixie machine girl who matures immeasurably beyond her first love.

Without getting all that obscure, this is the small band of representatives who don’t want to wipe us out.

It’s well known that the term “robot” comes from words meaning “slave” and “drudgery” and “servitude,” and that’s typically how we see them in movies. It’s rarer that you see intelligent robots portrayed as equals with humanity. Data from Star Trek: TNG is one example, and I’m hard pressed to think of others. TARS and his kind from Interstellar might work, since they’re no more or less servants than any other human crew member, but the point is that equality is fantastically rare. When A.I. isn’t growing to resent people and ultimately plotting our downfall as a species, it’s typically serving us mai tais. Which seems like a fast track toward resenting us anyway.

That rarity makes me appreciate the non-murderous AI movie characters even more. It also makes me wonder if we’ll ever see an era in storytelling where it’s more common to view friendly robots as equals instead of the only two roles we’ll currently let them fill.

"A Brief List of A.I. Movie Characters That Don’t Want to Murder Us All" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Teaser: Dawn of Trailers http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/batman-v-superman-teaser.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/batman-v-superman-teaser.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 02:59:04 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258396 Batman v SupermanSee a few seconds teased of the superhero movie and get your passes to see the first full trailer on April 20th.

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Confirmed 4.20.15 #BatmanvSuperman @IMAX special teaser screening events. Limited space. RSVP http://t.co/TasYGlJGig https://t.co/fnxFIERUlv

— ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) April 16, 2015

As promised, albeit a lot sooner than promised, Zack Snyder tweeted a tease of the upcoming trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and with it is a link to the movie’s website, where you can RSVP and get passes to see the full trailer in IMAX at a participating theater on Monday evening. With a special introduction by Snyder himself.

You may be disappointed that all the footage we get for now is a shot of Superman’s suit and a shot of Batman’s suit and a motion graphic of the logo, but I guess we shouldn’t have expected much from this step of the game. Hope you don’t have anything else marked in your calendar for April 20th at 7pm.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the actual movie, opens in U.S. theaters on March 25, 2016.

 

The sequel to Man of Steel is directed by Zack Snyder and written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer, and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

It’s produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns all involved as executive producers. The movie is distributed by Warner Bros. and based on characters originating in DC Comics.

Subsequent entries in this DC Cinematic Universe mega-franchise will be David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (August 5, 2016),  Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman (June 23, 2017), Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Part One (November 17, 2017), The Flash – possibly by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (March 23, 2018), Aquaman — possibly by James Wan (July 27, 2018), Shazam (April 5, 2019), Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Part Two (June 14, 2019), Cyborg (April 3, 2020) and the Green Lantern reboot (June 19, 2020).

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Teaser: Dawn of Trailers" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Wonder Woman Quickly Hires a New Woman Director http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/wonder-woman-new-director.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/wonder-woman-new-director.php#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:06:03 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258391 Gal Gadot as Wonder WomanIronically, the replacement is someone who previously left a big superhero movie over creative differences

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Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Zack Snyder / Warner Bros.

We were pretty bummed to hear that Michelle MacLaren departed Wonder Woman because of creative reasons. And we assumed it could be a while before we saw Warner Bros. and DC choose a replacement. But it’s actually been a very quick turnover, as The Hollywood Reporter has named Patty Jenkins as the replacement for the superhero tentpole, which will star Gal Gadot in the lead.

You may recall the irony here, how Jenkins was supposed to direct Thor: The Dark World for Marvel but left that superhero tentpole over creative differences. If you didn’t have a good memory about that, you were at least reminded by Scott’s post on MacLaren’s exit yesterday. Jenkins still hasn’t directed a feature since her 2003 debut with the Aileen Wuornos biopic Monster.

She has done a good amount of TV work in the past 12 years, though, earning an Emmy nomination for helming the pilot of The Killing. She also, interestingly enough, directed a couple episodes of Entourage, including one involving the fiction developments of an Aquaman sequel. Her latest gig had her directing the pilot for a Mary Elizabeth Winstead-led series that wasn’t picked up.

Jenkins will be picking things up from the lead of Zack Snyder, who started the new mega-franchise with Man of Steel and will get to introduce Gadot’s Wonder Woman in next year’s sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman’s solo feature will be then be the next hero-focused installment of the DC Cinematic Universe, following the release of the villain-based Suicide Squad.

Since MacLaren’s departure, fans have suggested that Marvel should swoop in and grab her for their own female superhero movie, Captain Marvel. That would raise the irony a lot, if DC got the director that couldn’t work with Marvel and Marvel got the director who couldn’t work for DC. It’d certainly fuel the notion that there’s a rivalry between the comic book publishers and their cinematic universes.

Wonder Woman is scheduled to hit theaters on June 23, 2017. For now, you can probably get your first look at the female superhero in action in the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will screen in theaters on Monday.

"Wonder Woman Quickly Hires a New Woman Director" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Suffragette Trailer: Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan Fight For the Right to Vote http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/suffragette-teaser.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/suffragette-teaser.php#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 20:35:05 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258380 Focus FeaturesGet your first look at Meryl Streep's performance, for which she is sure to earn her 20th Oscar nomination

"Suffragette Trailer: Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan Fight For the Right to Vote" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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As millions of Americans become hopeful that we’ll see the first woman elected President of the United States next fall, this fall we will have a chance to see millions of Brits hopeful that they’ll see women finally allowed to elect politicians of any kind. Suffragette, the first teaser for which can be seen above, is a drama about the suffrage movement in the UK around the turn of the 20th century.

Meryl Streep is in it, and she’s sure to earn her hundredth Oscar nomination for the portrayal of real-life voting activist Emmeline Pankhurts. Other substantial talents among the cast include Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai, Natalie Press and a few men who you can look up if you must.

This very brief initial teaser doesn’t show us much more than a look at what “rock the vote” meant more than a century ago, and an essential glimpse of Streep in her latest guise, imploring Mulligan’s character to “never surrender; never give up the fight.” In a mere 20 seconds, though, we can be certain that this will be a big awards contender next February. Focus Features has the film scheduled for a seasonal October 23rd release.

Suffragette was written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) and is directed by BAFTA nominee Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane, which was also written by Morgan). Here’s the official synopsis:

SUFFRAGETTE is a thrilling drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. MAUD was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.

"Suffragette Trailer: Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan Fight For the Right to Vote" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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The Flash Gordon Remake Just Got a Kick-Ass Director http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/matthew-vaughn-flash-gordon.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/matthew-vaughn-flash-gordon.php#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 18:04:08 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258373 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.Literally, Fox is negotiating with Matthew Vaughn, director of Kick-Ass for the next adaptation of the classic comic strip

"The Flash Gordon Remake Just Got a Kick-Ass Director" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Literally, the next attempt at a Flash Gordon movie will be helmed by the director of Kick-Ass. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matthew Vaughn, now fresh off the huge success of Kingsman: The Secret Service, is in negotiations to save every one our hopes for a fresh and proper adaptation of Alex Raymond’s classic sci-fi comic strip.

I’m as big a fan of the campy 1980 movie as is possible, especially for Queen’s soundtrack, but I’m still eagerly anticipating a redo. And like Fox, which is producing the effort, I’m a fan of Vaughn’s work, particularly X-Men: First Class and the first Kick-Ass. Flash Gordon is basically a non-super superhero, sort of like Kick-Ass, originating on Earth as a professional athlete who finds himself in outer space fighting an evil ruler.

The movie will probably be more focused on the space opera angle, though, especially if it’s able to cash in on similarities to Star Wars (Fox used to distribute that franchise before Disney bought Lucasfilm), which itself was heavily influenced by the Flash Gordon film serials of the ’30 and ’40s before in turn inspiring the schlocky 1980 version starring Sam J. Jones.

Speaking of whom, I hope that Jones isn’t too disappointed with this news. The nude centerfold model turned actor has been riding the nostalgia for Flash Gordon quite a bit lately, from his cameos in Ted and its upcoming sequel to being featured as the subject of the upcoming documentary Life After Flash (the Kickstarter campaign for which was sadly canceled following our promotion of the project).

Jones also recently told Den of Geek that he’s been in talks with John Davis, who is producing the new Flash Gordon, about how it’s actually a sequel and he would be involved. He stressed that he can do anything a young star can do and should be up to reprise the role. I don’t doubt that Davis will want Jones for a cameo of some kind, but this is clearly not a continuation of the 35-year-old version.

Overseeing the reboot alongside Davis is George Nolfi, who wrote the treatment for the adaptation. The current screenplay is by Star Trek 3 writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

"The Flash Gordon Remake Just Got a Kick-Ass Director" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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The Sopranos Ending, Shot By Shot, Not Explained By David Chase http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/shot-by-shot-explanation-sopranos-ending-david-chase.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/shot-by-shot-explanation-sopranos-ending-david-chase.php#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:17:55 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258365 James Gandolfini SopranosLike the spinning top before Inception, the finale to The Sopranos is (and should) be argued over for all time. Like the Journey song that glosses the sequence, it goes on and on and on and on. Tony is Schrodinger’s Gangster. But the question of his ultimate fate isn’t nearly as fascinating as David Chase‘s scene-by-scene breakdown of the show’s finale moments. The structure, the framing of the family all together for one last time, the casual ambiguity, and, yes, the on-the-nose nature that Chase swears by. Tony’s flipping through the jukebox; it’s almost like the soundtrack of his life, because he sees various songs. No matter what song we picked, I wanted it to be a song that would have been from Tony’s high school years, or his youth. That’s what he would have played. If you’re re-watching it, the rhythm is of unparalleled importance. The only close rival might be the wholesome location. Naturally, Chase goes into both elements in detail, offering his thought process as he crafted the capstone moment to one of the best television shows of the modern era. If you’re a fan of the show (that means you’re probably also a fanatatic), you owe it to yourself to read what Chase has to say in full.  Hat tip to HitFix for finding this one over at the Directors Guild website.

"The Sopranos Ending, Shot By Shot, Not Explained By David Chase" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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James Gandolfini Sopranos

Like the spinning top before Inception, the finale to The Sopranos is (and should) be argued over for all time. Like the Journey song that glosses the sequence, it goes on and on and on and on. Tony is Schrodinger’s Gangster.

But the question of his ultimate fate isn’t nearly as fascinating as David Chase‘s scene-by-scene breakdown of the show’s finale moments. The structure, the framing of the family all together for one last time, the casual ambiguity, and, yes, the on-the-nose nature that Chase swears by.

Tony’s flipping through the jukebox; it’s almost like the soundtrack of his life, because he sees various songs. No matter what song we picked, I wanted it to be a song that would have been from Tony’s high school years, or his youth. That’s what he would have played.

If you’re re-watching it, the rhythm is of unparalleled importance. The only close rival might be the wholesome location. Naturally, Chase goes into both elements in detail, offering his thought process as he crafted the capstone moment to one of the best television shows of the modern era.

If you’re a fan of the show (that means you’re probably also a fanatatic), you owe it to yourself to read what Chase has to say in full.  Hat tip to HitFix for finding this one over at the Directors Guild website.

"The Sopranos Ending, Shot By Shot, Not Explained By David Chase" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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The Rise of The Machines: Artificial Intelligence Continues To Infiltrate Movies and Television http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/artificial-intelligence-movies-television.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/artificial-intelligence-movies-television.php#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:00:32 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258361 TerminatorArtificial intelligence is still big at the box office, and beyond.

"The Rise of The Machines: Artificial Intelligence Continues To Infiltrate Movies and Television" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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Terminator

Paramount Pictures

This article is part of Humanity and the Machine, our exploration of the cinematic interactions between humans and self-aware machines.

The machines are coming. Actually, they’re already here, and they’d like your movie-going dollars, please (and a portion of your cable bill, too, if you’re not a cord-cutter). Artificial intelligence has long been a hallmark element of some of cinema’s best and boldest future visions – think Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Matrix – but as technology has increased its hold on everyday life (and, let’s be honest, as the sort of A.I. envisioned by such movies creeps ever-closer to actual creation), the tide of A.I.-centric entertainment offerings has seen a significant uptick.

The release of Alex Garland’s immensely well-regarded Ex Machina speaks to that popularity, serving as an elegant microcosm of the current state of A.I. film: sleek, smart, appealing, terrifying, and preoccupied with human emotion. Are we in a new golden age of artificial intelligence-infused entertainment? Well, we’re certainly getting there (much like how the machines are getting closer to taking over the entire world, and I’m sorry, is my fear too much?).

The success of Ex Machina – still just in limited release and already garnering big buzz – is reflective of other recent features that have merged personal issues with scientific interests to provide a fresh perspective on both the natures of A.I. and humanity itself. Ex Machina boldly probes the question of what makes something human – and, related, what makes us love other beings and/or want bone them – and how the creation of something non-human can inevitably and irrevocably alter former perceptions of that very question. In short, sure, it’s easy to say, “if it’s not human, it’s not human,” but then that damn A.I. being goes ahead and makes you fall in love with them, and all bets are decidedly off.

Her explored similar territory, imagining a world where a lonely man could fall in love with only a voice – a really smart one, of course, and a sexy one to boot – which now feels not only relatable, but kind of inevitable. Elsewhere, the recently released Daniel Bruhl feature Eva focused that kind of attention to a cute robot-kid, the kind that inspires confusing emotions related to parenthood (oh, hey, A.I. Artificial Intelligence!). Even the super-sweet kid film Big Hero 6 was preoccupied with issues relating to feeling emotional attachments to non-human entities – especially big, puffy dudes who are clearly not human (or, gosh, was he? more human than human?).

Not every recent A.I. film about the relationship between humans and machines has been a home run, however, just look at Transcendence, which innovatively tried to marry the two into one literal being, with very mixed results. That might have been bust – fine, it was a bust, Johnny Depp, what are you doing? – but it was inspired by a good idea that will likely eventually find its way to the screen with a (hopefully) better offering to sell it. It’s notable that A.I. is still a wonderful vehicle for driving otherwise uninspired sci-fi properties forward – from Transcendence to Chappie, Interstellar to the Robocop remake – and the final product can be a lumpy one, just like Transcendence, the kind of feature that’s marked by good thinking and bad execution.

Blockbusters also continue to gravitate towards A.I., including this summer’s Terminator: Genisys, which resurrects and redirects one of modern cinema’s most famous A.I.-centric franchises, and even Avengers: Age of Ultron. The new Terminator film looks to rejigger an already messy timeline and mythos, but the film’s newest trailer also places a major premium on the influence of A.I. beings in the film (just when you thought the series couldn’t get anymore A.I.-heavy, they had to go ahead and… well, we won’t say, in case you’ve managed to stay away from that newest trailer, which I personally recommend).

The MCU has long embraced A.I. – it’s easy to argue that any MCU film that includes Tony Stark and his Jarvis are films about A.I. – but Age of Ultron is the first to put that kind tech at its center, thanks to a power-mad A.I. being (you know, Ultron) who exceeds his original programming to genuinely think for himself, which unfortunately spells doom for the human race. It’s the biggest MCU feature yet, and it’s also a major win for A.I. (and the machines, oh God, the machines).

The entertainment industry’s rising interest in A.I.-centric properties also extends to the small screen. While flash-in-the-pan series like Almost Human and Intelligence both crashed after a single season, the Steven Spielberg-produced Extant has booked a second season, and that show your parents like a lot, Person of Interest, is currently nearing the end of its fourth season. New series about artificial intelligence are also on the horizon, including the AMC version of the popular Swedish series Real Humans, which has been titled Humans for American audiences, and will focus on a world where the new must-have item isn’t an Apple gadget, but a robotic servant known as a “Synth.”

Another A.I. series to look forward to? HBO’s new take on the Westworld mythos, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, as inspired by the 1973 film of the same name, which looks to be one of the most ambitious – if not the most ambitious – television series to tackle this kind of material. With an all-star cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, and Jeffrey Wright, the series promises to be a full-scale A.I.-driven show that will both enthrall and just plain terrify.

Enthralling and terrifying? Sounds like something we know… (No, machines, no, stop!)

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Michael Mann and Robert De Niro Are Competing in a Race of the Enzo Ferrari Biopics http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/dueling-ferrari-biopics.php http://filmschoolrejects.com/news/dueling-ferrari-biopics.php#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 16:45:49 +0000 http://filmschoolrejects.com/?p=258358 Robert De Niro in Grudge MatchMichael Mann is about to go head to head with his Heat star Robert De Niro. The director and the actor are working on separate biopics about Enzo Ferrari, the champion Italian racer who founded the luxury sports car company named after him. According to Variety, Mann’s version has been in the works for a while with the Rome-based Cecchi Gori Media (De Niro’s A Bronx Tale) and now he’s in final talks to direct the movie. It’s unclear if this will be his follow-up to Blackhat, but shooting wouldn’t begin until next year. Not that I expect he’d slip something else in before that. Currently titled Ferrari, according to IMDb, the script for this one is a Mann-ordered mash-up of efforts penned separately by Troy Kennedy-Martin (The Italian Job) and the late David Rayfiel (The Firm), both individually adapted from the 1991 biography “Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races” by Brock Yates. Interestingly enough, CGM has been trying to get this biopic going for more than a decade and it initially was to star the other Heat lead, Al Pacino. At that time, Sydney Pollack was set to direct. Mann was also apparently already attached to a Ferrari biopic back in 1993 with De Niro cast as the automotive pioneer, according to a recent Motorsport article sharing the news of De Niro’s competing film. That challenger, also simply titled Ferrari, is also being produced out of Italy but is said to be going into production soon with a planned 2016 release. De Niro is involved as a producer through his Tribeca Enterprises […]

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Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Michael Mann is about to go head to head with his Heat star Robert De Niro. The director and the actor are working on separate biopics about Enzo Ferrari, the champion Italian racer who founded the luxury sports car company named after him. According to Variety, Mann’s version has been in the works for a while with the Rome-based Cecchi Gori Media (De Niro’s A Bronx Tale) and now he’s in final talks to direct the movie. It’s unclear if this will be his follow-up to Blackhat, but shooting wouldn’t begin until next year. Not that I expect he’d slip something else in before that.

Currently titled Ferrari, according to IMDb, the script for this one is a Mann-ordered mash-up of efforts penned separately by Troy Kennedy-Martin (The Italian Job) and the late David Rayfiel (The Firm), both individually adapted from the 1991 biography “Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races” by Brock Yates. Interestingly enough, CGM has been trying to get this biopic going for more than a decade and it initially was to star the other Heat lead, Al Pacino. At that time, Sydney Pollack was set to direct. Mann was also apparently already attached to a Ferrari biopic back in 1993 with De Niro cast as the automotive pioneer, according to a recent Motorsport article sharing the news of De Niro’s competing film.

That challenger, also simply titled Ferrari, is also being produced out of Italy but is said to be going into production soon with a planned 2016 release. De Niro is involved as a producer through his Tribeca Enterprises but his primary role is portraying the main subject. The actor slipped the casting news with this recent statement to the newspaper Il Messaggaro (via Motorsport): “For me it is an honor and a joy to tell the life of an extraordinary man who revolutionized the automotive world and across historical periods.”

Those historical periods will range from 1945 through the 1980s, says famed photographer-turned-producer Gianni Bozzacchi. As of yet, there is no director attached to their “epic” take on Ferrari, though Clint Eastwood‘s name has been mentioned as being approached and “very interested” if he likes the script. Reportedly that script is or will be written by the team of Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson, who previously worked on the Mann-helmed biopic Ali. All this overlap is quite astonishing if not also totally confusing.

Neither of these will be the first Enzo Ferrari biopic. There’s a 2003 TV movie from Italy starring Sergio Castellitto in the lead, and of course it’s also just titled Ferrari. And as for other portrayals, Augusto Dallara played him in Ron Howard’s Rush. There are also a few documentaries about the subject to be found on the web if you’re interested in learning about the man before one of these biopics makes for a dramatic finish.

"Michael Mann and Robert De Niro Are Competing in a Race of the Enzo Ferrari Biopics" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source.

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