Movie News

Mad Max: Fury Road

Let’s take a little journey back in time, oh, say about five years, to when we first heard tell of George Miller‘s latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, a small, dusty feature called Mad Max: Fury Road. Back then, in September of 2009 (do you even remember September of 2009? here’s a hint — the number one song for most of that month was “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey), the film was set to star an impressive duo of talents — the just-rising Tom Hardy and the always-good Charlize Theron. While their involvement hasn’t changed in the five years since the film was first announced, plenty else has. Really, plenty, from the rumor that it was to shoot back-to-back with a sequel to the plan to lens the whole thing in Australia to the obvious buzz that it would be shot in 3D. There’s also the fact that we’ve been talking about this film for nearly half a decade and that it’s finally, finally happening. Really! Mad Max: Fury Road is indeed happening — in fact, it’s happening so much that it already happened. The film has already been shot and is in post-production but that doesn’t mean a whole lot without a fresh glimpse at its two stars, now does it?

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Fury Movie

By the looks of the Fury trailer, David Ayer found some not-so-secret plans in a forgotten bunker, dusted them off and followed them to the letter in order to create one more World War II film for the pile of World War II films. All the cliches are here. Empty fields with random explosions, the rookie, the crusty leader, the Jarhead-esque ennui, tanks jousting, one last job, impossible odds and Jason Isaacs. As a bonus, Brad Pitt sounds like he chugged cough syrup before every take. Unbelievably flat delivery in hand, I can only assume that they’ll discuss how disillusioned he is at length while he wanly recites koans like “war never ends quietly.” What does that even mean? It’s one of those statements that’s moronic yet desperate to be profound. Not to mention that wars end quietly all the time. A signature and refusal to shake hands in an isolated train car sometimes does the trick. At any rate, check out the trailer for yourself:

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Dumb and Dumber To

What do we know about comedy sequels? Let’s think about this year’s biggest comedy sequel so far, 22 Jump Street, which lovingly pulls from both its first film and its source material (as much as we can call a bad eighties television show “source material,” like it’s a J.R.R. Tolkien book or whatever) for its gags, is hilariously portrayed by modern comedy’s most unexpected comedic duo and also injects the whole thing with a knowing wink-wink about the nature of franchise humor in general. What can we glean from that? Just the basics — comedy is hard, sequels are harder and there’s never any guarantee that what worked before will work again (if it even worked at all). So let’s talk about Dumb and Dumber To, which seems unafraid to do the one thing it probably shouldn’t: recycle jokes that worked before without the added intelligence or irony that comes with acknowledging that, hey, we did these jokes before. The sequel’s first trailer didn’t layer on the repeat jokes too thickly, but its new international trailer spreads it on like comedic marshmallow fluff. It’s sticky and hard to swallow, and it sure doesn’t bode well for the final product. Here, watch the latest Dumb and Dumber To trailer, and remember when all these jokes were funny — the first time around.

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The Last of Robin Hood

With the recent premiere of Maleficient, we’ve all spent a good deal of time talking about Elle Fanning and her career turn as a real life Disney princess. But the focus is about to shift again to the older sister, with Dakota Fanning stepping into the shoes of a young and impressionable 1940s starlet in The Last of Robin Hood. After all, who would know more about struggling through Hollywood and rising to fame as a teenager than someone who has done it herself? The silver screen gal she’s portraying, Beverly Aadland, was in a bit of a different situation than Fanning, however. Aadland was a chorus girl just at the beginnings of her blossoming film career, with only a twinkle of Hollywood in her future and an overbearing stage mom (Susan Sarandon) at her side. It’s the beauty and talents of the — very, very — young beauty that catches the eye of Robin Hood himself, Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline), and the two begin a dangerous affair that crosses a few too many boundaries. At the time, Flynn was the toast of the town, a mega movie star who was virtually untouchable; charming, undeniably handsome and a beloved figure on the silver screen with roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. He was a dashing action hero that everyone wanted to work with, everyone wanted to be and everyone wanted to be with at the same time.

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Tilda Swinton in Burn After Reading

2011 and 2012 were tough years. Before then, things were plentiful, as every year a new Coen Brothers film would release right on schedule. No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man and True Grit. Truly, it was a great time to be alive. But the next two years after True Grit were a desert. No Coen films. No Coen anything. Not a single trace of dryly broad (or broadly dry?) comic sensibilities, nor the gentle pop of John Goodman’s vocal chords exploding after one screamed line too many. Those were dark times. And when Inside Llewyn Davis swooped in to remind us that Joel and Ethan Coen were both still alive and still capable of putting story to celluloid, things got a little lighter. But still the question remained: when would the Coens return to hibernation? We should be in the clear for now. Their latest film has progressed enough to call it quits on the Coen slumber party. It’s got a title (Hail Caesar!), two cast members (George Clooney and Josh Brolin), and a vague outline of the story. It’ll follow Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer in the moviemaking salad days of the 1950s. Mannix will have to juggle the lives and careers of various hyperactive Coen movie moguls. And now, according to Variety, the film’s got cast member number three: Channing Tatum.

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Shane Black in Predator

Things are coming full circle for Shane Black, the famed action screenwriter who made his on screen debut shortly after his first scripted movie (Lethal Weapon) opened in theaters. His first credited role was in Predator as Hawkins, the bespectacled, comic book-reading radio operator who was a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special forces team. He was also the first man to die. Now he’s been resurrected within the franchise off screen, as The Hollywood Reporter tells us that he’s signed on to write a treatment for a new Predator reboot, which he’ll also direct. Black’s Monster Squad collaborator Fred Dekker is on board to handle the actual screenplay for the new installment. A few things come quickly to mind with this news. One is that 20th Century Fox and original producer John Davis have finally, after 28 years, got Black to pen some material for the franchise they’d attempted to have him work on in the form of a script polish in 1986. Another is that he should make this a sequel where he again appears, this time as Hawkins’s twin brother looking for revenge, and he again dies first. Finally, the most immediate association anyone should have with something Black is involved in: this Predator will have to be set during the Christmas season. The funny thing is, there was already an image of the Predator made up like Santa Claus existing on the web just waiting for this all to happen.

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Love Is Strange

Ahh, the wedding movie. It doesn’t matter how old, or how sexually preferenced the to-be-betrothed are — once we take in those familiar sights and sounds, the same feeling comes rushing back. The early morning jitters. The cordial, yet heart-softening classical music. The phrase “We are gathered here today…” There’s no use fighting the cliches, Love Is Strange. Once director Ira Sachs plants both feet in wedding territory, he must follow wedding movie tradition and introduce something horrible to disrupt this picturesque moment. Will it be hordes of big fat Greek family members? A rogue planet headed on a collision course with Earth? Before long, the trailer gives us the answer: Love Is Strange is in a gay recession.

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The Drop

It’s been a little over a year since the world lost James Gandolfini and his many talents, but it’s making the transition a little softer knowing that the late, great actor still had several films in the can when he passed. The final film of that bunch is set to arrive, meaning The Drop is the last new film in which we’ll ever see the former Tony Soprano do what he does best: intimidate the hell out of everyone around him and boss around one or two or a dozen shady individuals. The Drop, directed by Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead) isn’t just a vehicle for showcasing Gandolfini. As all good crime movies begin, the trailer starts us off in a very ornate, probably Catholic church where our protagonists are likely attempting to repent for some unforgivable sins. Might as well have the big guy on your side if you’re going to get tangled up in something that could leave you riddled with bullets. Gandolfini is Marv, the owner (or maybe not?) of a bar where his cousin Bob (Tom Hardy) helps out bartending and watching his back. Now the trouble with Marv, and a little bit with Bob, is that they both have criminal pasts — Bob has opted to leave his there, while Marv is letting his leak more and more into the present, where it’s infecting the business of the bar, and the well-being of his family, including Bob’s love (Noomi Rapace), who has taken on an excellent concerned — […]

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The Purge: Anarchy

America. Land of the free, home of the brave, good country for crime. At least, that’s the angle that this summer’s hotly anticipated horror sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, is going for in its latest trailer. The next film from creator James DeMonaco takes us still further down the crime-ridden rabbit hole he first presented to us with last year’s The Purge, a cinematic universe that imagines that all crime (even murder, as some kind of super-happy announcer-lady declares in a tone of voice that’s definitely more chipper than it should be) is legal for a single, terrifying twelve-hour period every year. Time to move to Canada. Bye, guys! The Purge itself appears to be a wholly American creation, one launched to help citizens let off steam in the most demented of manners. It’s presented to its citizens as a good thing (along with its apparently unwritten rule to never, ever help anyone else out ever ever ever, because nothing says “USA” like not given a crap about your neighbor), but it’s pretty obviously a totally insane and evil thing, and it sure makes fake future America seem like the kind of place that’s not even worth the scant visit. Still, you know what’s really American? A hero — one like Frank Grillo, whose starring role in the film should pretty cleanly seal up his bid for cinema’s next “tough guy with a heart of gold” slot. Check out the latest trailer for The Purge: Anarchy, and be happy this premise isn’t true (well, yet):

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Columbia Pictures

Looks like Seth Rogen and James Franco won’t be getting the Dennis Rodman Tour of Honor and Respect and Like, Just A Lot of Basketball should they ever happen to roll into North Korea, but we doubt that will come as a surprise to the comedic duo (and we also doubt that anyone will ever be able to just “roll” into the country, least of all a pair of Hollywood superstars known for their comedic hijinks). The pair’s next cinematic team-up, The Interview, takes pretty sharp aim at both the Asian dictatorship itself and its actual supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. This isn’t veiled stuff — Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s latest film is entirely about a smarmy television host (Franco) and his best pal/producer (Rogen) who snag a big interview with the dictator and are then tasked with assassinating him, thanks to the demands of the U.S. government. Again, this isn’t a film about West Norea and its meanie leader Jim Long-um, it’s fully about North Korea and Kim Jong-un. So, yeah, he’s a little ticked off. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see the final film!

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Grand Budapest Hotel

Three contests in one week… We must be going crazy. Then again, perhaps we should have just called it ‘Reader Appreciation Week’ and come up with a kitschy logo for it. Then again, every week is reader appreciation week here at Film School Rejects. We do so adore those of you who visit the site, click through to the many wonderful articles and help us keep the lights on. In return, we like to give something back (beyond our world-renowned insight and wit). Today we’re taking a trip to the fictional Republic of Zubrowka and the Wes Anderson-devised Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, just hit Blu-ray this week and as we’ve expressed before, the film is well worth your time. To help you get a room at The Grand Budapest, we’re giving one (1) lucky reader a prize pack that includes a Blu-ray copy of the movie and an autographed copy of the soundtrack signed by director Wes Anderson. Entering is an easy 2-step process…

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Rosario Dawson in Sin City

If it seemed like the Netflix Daredevil series had been missing something that you couldn’t quite put your finger on up until now, it should all make sense when you hear that, according to Variety, Rosario Dawson is joining the show in a “critical” female role. That’s it, everything is good, proceed with production now. Dawson will join the already-announced Charlie Cox (Daredevil) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Kingpin) in the series, which is hitting the streaming site in 2015. Though her role hasn’t been exactly spelled out yet, she’ll be playing, according to Marvel, a young woman who crosses paths with Matt Murdock/Daredevil in her valiant attempts to help the citizens of Hell’s Kitchen and heal the broken cracks of her fair city. Her presence in Daredevil’s life “forever alters” the way in which he tackles the injustices of the city, as well. “Rosario Dawson is one the most charismatic, talented and powerful actresses in Hollywood, so she was always at the top of our list for ‘Marvel’s Daredevil,’” said Jeph Loeb, the head of Marvel TV to Variety. “Her role in the series is absolutely critical to Matt Murdock’s journey to become the hero we know as Daredevil.”

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oprah the butler

It’s not even July yet. Do we really have to start with Oscar stuff now? The only other people mentioning this fall’s crop of potential award-winners do so with hilarious disclaimers like “It’s never too early to semi-blindly predict the rest of the year’s critical darlings” or “It’s only June, but let’s take an ignorant stab at the Oscar nominations anyway, shall we?” Oh, how I wish such a disclaimer could have run at the top of this paragraph. But now there is news. News that does not mention any explicit Oscar-mongering, yet carries the faint swooshing noise of Oprah Winfrey, polishing her mantle in anticipation of Oscar number two (and the first one was an honorary humanitarian award, so it barely counts as it is). Selma, the Winfrey-produced, Ava DuVernay-directed, David Oyelowo-starring biopic about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has a release date: December 25, 2014, for a limited release, and then January 9, 2015, for the wide expansion. And that kind of a release schedule, or course, is what you do when you want to see your film dented and eventually destroyed under a shower of heavy awards statuettes. Last year, Dallas Buyers Club, Her and 12 Years a Slave went for the late-year, limited-then-wide release pattern. Today, all those movies can proudly proclaim “Academy Award Winner” on their various Blu-ray and DVD covers.

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Borgman

Here in Austin (home base of Film School Rejects) there’s a saying that fills the majority of bumper stickers: Keep Austin Weird. It was originally coined as a way to speak to supporting local business. Some people — mostly gosh-damn hipsters — take it a little too far and are just weird. It’s a weird place with weird people. And the companies that exist here are a little weird sometimes, too. Few are weirder (and more beloved for it) than our friends at the Alamo Drafthouse and Mondo. When it comes to picking movies to distribute and champion, they’ve got a taste that goes beyond eclectic. It’s downright strange at times. As is the case with the dark suburban fable Borgman, the tale of an “enigmatic vagrant who enters the lives of an upper-class family and quickly unravels their carefully curated lifestyle.” What sounds like the setup for an Adam Sandler comedy or an Arrested Development meta-movie featuring homeless dad is far more deranged in this particular case.  Seriously, you have to watch the trailer for this thing. Even then, you might not entirely believe it exists. But it does. And to celebrate, we’re giving away a coveted nerd item: a Borgman Mondo poster by artist Jay Shaw. More details after we subject you to the Borgman trailer below.

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Rian Johnson

One of the things that made the original Star Wars trilogy so special was its hand-off of the second two installments to other filmmakers. Each of those first three movies was helmed by a different director, and that was a hope I had for the new trilogy, especially after George Lucas’s hogging of all the prequels. Well, according to news out of Deadline this afternoon, we’re going to at least have two people at the helm this time around. Rian Johnson is reportedly taking over the central run of the Star Wars franchise from Star Wars Episode VII helmer J.J. Abrams. He’ll write and direct Episode VIII, presumably due in late 2017, and he’s also going to deliver a treatment for Episode IX.* Apparently he’s to get started immediately, and obviously this will take up his attention for almost the rest of this decade. That means he’ll have to put aside a couple projects I’d heard were percolating in him since his acclaimed Looper hit theaters two years back. The news also means he won’t be doing the Star Wars project I’d originally wished for him: the young Han Solo adventure that would star Johnson’s buddy and regular collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt (perfect casting). Maybe there’s still a role for the guy somewhere, or maybe there can be some time travel thrown at the Star Wars galaxy where Harrison Ford meets his younger self. Wait, no, that’s more an Abrams thing to do, isn’t it?

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Pixar short Lava

Pixar’s current state of the union might be decidedly forward-looking — especially since we’re not getting a new Pixar feature until summer of next year, a major break with tradition that has been punctuated by pushbacks, switcheroos and even a little bit of regular confusion from th beloved animation studio — but that doesn’t mean that the creative giant is hiding what could be their next great film. Pixar showed off five minutes of their next film, Inside Out, to a batch of Los Angeles film journalists last night, and while the reaction to that little slice of footage was universally effusive, we’re far more interested in the other thing the group got to watch — and a complete thing at that. As is the norm for Pixar pictures, Inside Out (that’s the one about a young girl who is kind of literally battling her own emotions, which are all personified and raging inside her, get it?) will be paired with a brand new Pixar short, a short that was shown in its entirety to that same group last night, who also loved it. But what is Lava about? Well, love, incidentally.

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Better Call Saul

You might feel some apprehension about the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, but you know you’re going to watch it. When it finally arrives, that is. The show, which is to star Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as lawyer Saul Goodman, was supposed to debut on AMC this November. The bad news is that it’s been pushed back until early next year. The good news, though, is that the cable network is excited about what they’ve seen so far and have already renewed the series for a second season. The first will be 10 episodes, and the second, arriving early 2016, will add another 13. Vince Gilligan is directing the pilot and will share showrunning duties with Peter Gould, who created Goodman as a Breaking Bad writer in season 2 (the character’s debut episode was also called “Better Caul Saul”). Michael McKean, who was so great recently on HBO’s canceled Family Tree is also in the cast as another lawyer, and Jonathan Banks is reprising his role as Mike Ehrmantraut. Yes, it’s a prequel series.

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About Alex

We’ve had a few trailers arrive in the past couple weeks for movies involving comedians gathering for funerals, but what about comedians coming together to celebrate the failure of an attempted suicide? It would be remiss not to say that About Alex is the Big Chill that we’ve been missing from our generation’s film lineups, even though it’s a bit obvious to point it out; the trailer itself wastes no time in doing so, and the pull quotes carefully picked out to showcase the film’s best qualities mention it as well. But when you’ve got a group of young, twenty something friends heading up to a cabin to embrace each other warmly and love a friend who just nearly took his life…when it walks like a duck… About Alex, from director and writer Jesse Zwick, is a familiar story that seems to try its best to reinvent itself for the modern age. Alex (Jason Ritter) suffers an emotional breakdown, which is the tried and true Bat Signal for his friends to finally get their acts together and pay attention to their long-suffering pal. They assemble for what’s supposed to be a gathering of fun and old memories, but when tensions combine with what are really old wounds, plus a whole lot of drugs and booze, it’s clear that this maybe wasn’t the best decision.

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Dear White People

Justin Simeon‘s Dear White People was a colossal hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Simeon received a Special Jury Award, the film received at least a dozen water coolers’ worth of good buzz, and it all made Simeon out to be a super neat guy. Also Rob Hunter liked it, which is worth a few points. Then, in the months since Sundance ended, audiences were inundated with The LEGO Movie, Godzilla and a good four or five superhero films and they forgot all about the little indie film that could (poke fun at the modern state of race relations). But now Dear White People has a fall release date fast approaching, and the film has to do something to be heard over the deafening rustle of studio execs doing cannonballs into their chlorinated money pools. So we have been treated to the first Dear White People trailer.

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Chelsea Handler

Looks like Chelsea Handler is getting out of the late night talk show game — well, sort of. The current host of E!’s Chelsea Lately hasn’t made it any secret that she’s unhappy at the network she just so happens to be leaving soon or that she’s looking for another steady gig in the late night realm, but the comedienne has now signed up for a new show that, by its very design, is not a late night talk show. In reality, it’s an anytime talk show, because Handler is now moving over to Netflix for the next stage of her career.The streaming service (and DVD rental giant, but who ever thinks about that anymore) announced the pairing today via a press release, the kind peppered with fawning language and lots of Handler’s trademark humor (which, cough cough, doesn’t work for everyone).

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