Reject Recap: Free Speech, ‘Master’ Is a Failure, ‘Ferris Bueller’ Isn’t Funny, Toronto Continues

Another week has gone by, but you can do a bit of time travel (Rian Johnson told us all how) by checking out some of our content you might have missed over the past seven days. Sift through our 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) coverage. Or, maybe you’re nostalgic and want to revisit Kate’s comments about feral children just like old times. Perhaps you just remembered you wanted to respond to Nathan’s post on how unfunny Ferris Bueller is. Whatever your reason, hop in and take a little trip with me.

First stop, a very hot button piece on the huge story of the week, which wasn’t necessarily about movies:

Addressing the controversy amidst the tragedy in Libya this week, Cole wrote at length and with great necessity on the importance of not blaming, let alone condemning, the movie Innocence of Muslims. As a matter of our First Amendment rights in the U.S.: “There are dozens of complex elements to consider here – personal loss, geopolitical cooperation, religious interests, local political posturing, Presidential responses – but certainly free speech is among them, and every once in a while (normally when something large and terrible occurs), it’s important to remind ourselves that we have to protect that protection even as we seek justice against the real crimes.”


TIFF Continues

I looked into the distinctly divided reviews of Cloud Atlas posted immediately following the film’s world premiere: “The power of the medium to connect and then sever us is so strong sometimes that I’m surprised no film has ever started a war. Perhaps this could be the one?”

Nathan shared an odd story about one masked and anonymous filmmaker whose horror film Come Out and Play just screened and sold distribution rights at the festival: “Is Makinov an enigmatic artist whose work in horror will be intriguing us for years, or just some dork in a mask looking to get big quick by pulling off a publicity stunt?”

Louis reviewed Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master (“an utter failure”).

Nathan reviewed Ariel Vroman’s The Iceman (“could have been something special”) and Dredd 3D (“junk food, plain and simple”).

Andrew reviewed Michel Gondry‘s The We and the I (“it lacks empathy”), Jacques Audiard‘s Rust and Bone (“a great dramatic feat”), Martin McDonagh‘s Seven Psychopaths (“hilarious”), A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman (“none of it is any good”), Abbas Kiarostami‘s Like Someone in Love (“engaging”), The Sessions (“a sex comedy for grown-ups”), Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines (“most every element of the film is impeccable”), Luis Prieto’s remake of Pusher (“mediocre”), Aftershock (“a wonderfully enjoyable mess”), Smashed (“fails to truly capture the audience”) and Michael Winterbottom‘s Everyday (“an incredible, loving film”).



Fantastic Fest Looms

Cole shared the final line-up for Fantastic Fest, taking note of Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral and Ernest Diaz Espinosa’s Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman: “The slate this year is pure insanity.”

Gearing up for Fantastic Fest, Don highlights the parties and other non-screening fun. Regardless of whether closing night selection Red Dawn is any good, there’s this: “Fantastic Fest will transform the Austin American Legion into a maximum-security prison where prisoners will enjoy delousing stations as well as free prison tattoos and head-shaves.”

While in town for the fest, you’ll want to visit the latest Mondo Gallery show. Neil presented an exclusive look at one of the posters, a Black Swan-inspired piece by Lucasfilm artist Craig Drake titled “Nina.”



The Big Screen

DC readers: hurry up and buy tickets to see Sinister before the screening is canceled for lack of the attendance quota.

In honor of the release of Resident Evil: Retribution, Brian imagined the daily itinerary for an Umbrella Corp. CEO. My favorite: “9:00pm–Flame Milla Jovovich on Facebook. ‘I guess the missing sixth element is plot consistency.’ Burn.”

In this week’s podcast, Cole talked to Beauty is Embarrassing director Neil Berkeley and subject Wayne White. I should add that I highly recommend this funny new documentary.

For a new feature spotlighting our favorite cathedrals of cinema, I wrote about New York City’s IFC Center: “Keeps seeming to get better and better in terms of its celebration of moviegoing and theatrical exhibition.

I wrote about how The Words is really about babies and making babies rather than books and writing books: “Creative works are like children, and plagiarism is therefore like kidnapping.” And in honor of Grandparents Day, I wondered where all the movies for the occasion are while predicting that Parental Guidance will be the start of a new wave of grandparent comedies: “The Baby Boomers are entering that time of their lives, and they want something identifiable on the screen.”

Robert takes issue with the increase in cinemas with assigned seating and how it’s just not suited for the animals and imbeciles they let into the theater: “Every single time I hear someone ask ‘Do you mind…?’ in a theater, I go past my boiling point.” Kate responded to another stranger, more terrifying new cinema implementation at a location in London: all-black-clad ninja spies. “Perhaps make a sign, Prince Charles Cinema? Let people know what’s going on? Or, hey, here’s something insane, just train some ushers to enforce the rules, Drafthouse-style?”

Robert Levin reviewed the Channing Tatum movie 10 Years (“as much fun as spending 100 minutes in a room full of annoying strangers”). Kate reviewed the new films Liberal Arts (“quite charming and genuinely humorous, with great heart”) and Arbitrage (“slick, well-made, and atmospheric”).

And Alison talked to Arbitrage composer Cliff Martinez about the film’s score. He said: “The film is always my main source of inspiration and even if the subject is not something I have intimate and specific knowledge of, I feel that my job is to universalize the characters and the subject matter; to bring out aspects of the emotion and psychology of a story that everyone can relate to.”

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Museum Scene

Small Screen

Rob’s primary pick for new home video releases this week is The Loved Ones (“wonderfully twisted”), but he also says to buy Beyond the Black Rainbow (“weird as hell) and Titanic 3D (“one of the better post-conversion jobs”). I’ll agree with him about avoiding What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Even my then-pregnant wife hated it. Rob also recommends a rental in Snow White and the Huntsman, which you can then watch while playing Kevin’s latest drinking game (there’s even an appropriate beer called Snow White, if you can find it).

Jack interviewed Josh Lucas for the new-to-DVD movie Red Dog. Here’s what the actor said about Ang Lee’s Hulk: “I think it’s the antithesis to those bigger movies, and I think that’s what Batman does so well: has a dark and questioning soul. Often times, with some of the bigger Marvel movies, they just become action candy.

Looking at the recent films The Artist, Meek’s Cutoff and Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, and inspired by Arnold’s upcoming adaptation of Wuthering Heights, Landon welcomed the “triumphant (but quiet)” return of the Academy Ratio: “Because we now view almost all media through wide screens and distinct rectangles, the Academy Ratio’s square might be one of the only ways that filmmakers can compel audiences to see, perceive, and think differently.”

Nathan compared the “overrated” Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to the “underpraised” Snow Day. Regarding the former: “For being a movie that’s widely known as one of the classic comedies, there aren’t that many things in Ferris Bueller that are actually funny.” As for the latter, it’s “full of legit laughs, childhood nostalgia, and teenage characters who are three-dimensional and fleshed out rather than simple, teen movie archetypes.”

Landon and Cole discussed Renoir‘s The Rules of the Game, one of the top films according to the Sight & Sound poll. Does it deserve its slot over the The Grand Illusion? And what are those rules of the game anyway?

What can filmmakers learn from Werner Herzog? Cole lists six tips from the wild auteur and concludes: “There’s clear passion there, but there’s also a kind of pragmatism that comes with accepting the reality of what pursuing this kind of artistic life means.”

What can the movies tell us about the secret to life? Cole looked at movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix, Being John Malkovich and The Fountain but concludes City Slickers has the best to offer. “Descartes, Plato and Pierce can all be tossed out. Curly’s finger is right.”

For this week’s big list, David Christopher Bell highlights the most mundane movie murder weapons, including pencils, peanuts, toilets, garage doors, bowling pins and carrots. Films include Daredevil, The Dark Knight, X-Men: First Class and number one pick, Sleepwalkers, with its corn on the cob kill: “This is… just an amazing way to kill someone. It’s corn on the cob! The only food that specifies its location in the name! It’s literally the most wholesome thing in the world!”

With The Master out in limited release this week, Jeremy shared 37 things he learned from the Boogie Nights commentary. Here’s one for my fellow doc dorks: “Much of the documentary footage about Dirk Diggler was pulled from and inspired by Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Real Story, a 1981 documentary which basically serves as a love letter to the legendary porn star. Anderson showed the documentary to Wahlberg, who culled a lot from the way Holmes interacted and responded during interviews.”

Nathan complained about Google’s new Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon search field: “anybody with a mischievous gleam in their eye and a smartphone in their pocket is going to be able to cheat the next time this game gets played at a (nerd) party. It’s still too early to tell, but this might be the worst thing that’s happened to gaming since those online word generators had everyone cheating at Words With Friends.”

In her TV column, Amber shared concern with the new season of Grimm. “I adore Grimm but sophomore seasons are notoriously treacherous and this one is starting out shaky.”



Cole shared the minute-long LIGHT: “This is story at its least complicated – there’s a problem followed by a solution.” Watch it. And the minute-long Brothers: “It’s a great, visual-centric squeeze to get your heart pumping.” Watch it. And the minute-long Folklore: “it’s excellent at building an eerie atmosphere and showing off what can be done with limited time and wallet space.” Watch it. And the minute-long Macromouse: “it’s an adorable story, but it’s also incredibly depressing.” Watch it. And the minute-long Lady I: “It’s a delicate balance of ideas and a fantastic example of how the camera can be used to deceive.” Watch it.


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Coming Soon

Film series marathons are all the rage, so get properly feral by watching all five of the Twilight movies, including Breaking Dawn Part 2, on September 15. With exclusive new content!!! OMG!!!

After reading Looper writer/director Rian Johnson‘s explanation of time travel, Cole had this to say about the future: “It seems obvious at this point that it’s poised to be a breakout for Johnson. Unless someone goes back and kills Hitler. Then who knows what will happen.”

With a first look at Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as Ronald and Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’s The Butler, Cole stated: “The team has done a great job of making both look as close as possible (to the point where Rickman is virtually unrecognizable as himself).

Cole watched the trailer for Francine: “How did a trailer featuring an actress rubbing cats on her face just make me want to see the film?”

He also watched the trailer for A Late Quartet: “This, right here, looks like must-see filmmaking from a new director and a veteran cast.”

And the latest trailer for Wreck-It Ralph. This one has: ” jokes about the word ‘duty.'”

Also, the trailer for Spielberg‘s Lincoln: “This movie is going to pull every ounce of emotion right out of our veins.”

Another trailer he watched is for Stand Up Guys: “Looks like equal parts harmless retirement comedy and 25th Hour.”

Kate watched the trailer for Smashed, a film she’s seen and can recommend especially for the performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead: “Her work … is so brutally accomplished and so worthy of praise that it’s more than a bit stunning.”

She also watched the trailer for Mama and shared the original short it’s based on. Regarding the former: “For added scares, the gorgeous Jessica Chastain goes Goth for her role.”

And she watched the trailer for Gayby, which features a blurb from our own Alison. Kate added: “She’s right. Gayby is a charmer.”

Nathan watched the trailer for Texas Chainsaw 3D: “I mean, come on, this is a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie that doesn’t even have the balls to put the word massacre in its title.”

Killing Them Softly is still coming soon, albeit a just a bit later.


David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper

Coming Later

Their first collaboration, Silver Linings Playbook, is a huge hit in Toronto. And filmmaker David O. Russell and actor Bradley Cooper have apparently become BFFs and will work on more films together. “Sorry, Wahlberg, you’re not the golden boy anymore,” Kate responded. Speaking of Cooper, The Hangover Part III has been revealed to be a road movie. “Points to WB for knowing exactly what we want to hear,” Kate wrote, “(if this description had included any words like ‘baby shower’ or ‘vow renewal,’ I would have eaten my hat).”

Daniel Radcliffe was given three new costars for Alexandre Aja‘s Horns, including Kelli Garner. Rob didn’t know who she was, so I recommend he and anyone else with this problem check out Lars and the Real Girl immediately.

Meanwhile, Kate admitted she’s not familiar with All of Me, which is being remade. She needs to get on that. You, too. Let’s all just have a big Lily Tomlin viewing party.

James Cameron says the fourth Avatar installment will be a prequel. Jack speculated as to its basic story: “When it was Project 880, the original script name for Avatar, there was a good amount of backstory to the human and Na’vi relationship, so perhaps Cameron plans on using that cut out story as the template for Avatar 4.”

No fourth planned yet, but Independence Day 2 and 3 have been titled ID Forever – Part 1 and ID Forever – Part 2. Yes, 2 and 3 are 1 and 2. Kate asked: “Any relation to Batman Forever?”

Another sequel talked about is Magic Mike 2. Kate commented on a reported direction for the film: “Tatum reveals that the sequel would be a ‘road movie about a group of strippers’ that would lean more ‘towards a broad comedy.’ Which, to be completely honest, doesn’t sound that awesome.”

Sharing news about a third Boondock Saints movie, Rob recommended the documentary Overnight. Yes, yes, yes. “regardless of whether or not you’re a real fan of the films, you owe it to yourself to give it a watch.”

Cole took a look at the release slate of upcoming DreamWorks Animation (through 2016), which includes two How to Train Your Dragon sequels, another Kung Fu Panda and a Madagascar spin-off. Still: “the bulk of the list is original concepts. That’s commendable.”

Epsilon will be a robot apocalypse movie without the apocalypse from Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, Kate reported. “The main character is a man who discovers he is more human than he thought.” So it’s kind of like a mix of Wall-ETerminatorRobopocalypse,and that new television show Revolution? Sold!”

Tom Wilkinson has joined the thriller Felony, and Nathan said we should treat this as big news. “When an actor has been doing work as solid as Wilkinson’s for as long as Wilkinson has been doing it, shouldn’t we treat his casting in new projects as a bigger event than we do?”

Cole offered reason to hope In the Garden of Beasts becomes a film, and right now it could involve Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman and director Michel Hazanavicius: “You’re a welcomed diplomat living in the heart of darkness, witnessing the growing madness of Hitler’s Holocaust, but no one back home wants to listen to your theories. It’s infuriating subject matter that could make for a thrilling drama, especially with the gold-plated talent involved.”

Rob gave reason not to laugh too hard about a spy movie focused on a DJ on the run loosely adapted from Dead Spy Running: “The premise sounds like it’s taken a turn for the worse, but Wingard and Barrett are smart enough filmmakers that we wouldn’t dream of counting them out yet.”


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

Read More from Christopher Campbell
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