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Pacino in Scarface

Universal Pictures

One of these days, Universal will finally get around to their latest incarnation of Scarface. That officially planned remake of the 1932 Howard Hawks gangster flick, which was previously redone in 1983 by Brian De Palma, is currently set up with Chilean director Pablo Larrain (No; Tony Manero), screenwriter Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco) and a supposed plot involving a Mexican drug cartel and one man who rises in its ranks. In the meantime, another effort to reimagine the story is already moving forward and should be finished as early as this December.

The wonderfully odd folks at The Borscht Corporation, who run Miami’s semi-annual Borscht Film Festival (see our write up on the 2012 event), are working on a project centered specifically on De Palma’s version of Scarface. The plan is to compile a scene-for-scene redo consisting of a collage of various styles. They’ve broken the movie up into 636 pieces, each one 15 seconds in length, and anyone can submit their own interpretation of one of these bits. Want to recreate the part where Tony (Al Pacino) yells “say hello to my little friend” but have the little friend be an actual little person? Well, that gag has already been done before, but if you have any other bright ideas, that particular scene is still available to claim.

“For better or worse, Scarface had held Miami’s image in a vice grip since it came out,” states an email we received about the project, which is titled Scarface Redux. “As our mission is to redefine cinema in Miami (and vice-versa) we thought it was about time to get literal and take back our image! Or something.”

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Chaser Short Film

Sal Bardo

Why Watch? At the center of this short film from Sal Bardo is a sex scene made uncomfortable to watch not by the presentation of the act, but by the orgy of emotive facial expressions projected by the film’s star Max Rhyser.

In Chaser, Rhyser plays Zach, a teacher (with surprisingly empathetically intelligent young students) who is alienated and alienates himself from a conservative family. While his brother and sister-in-law have bought a new house with enough rooms for new humans, Zach views a foundational future as something beyond his reach, and seeks comfort in a barebacking house party that offers easy sex as a temporary fix.

“Fix” is a good term for what Zach is chasing — both as a solution and as a high. There is both pleasure and pain in his stripping down in an unfamiliar room and having sex with strangers, but through the act, Zach reveals that he was used up before he ever walked into the party.

There are a few hiccups — notably some stagey-feeling acting (that ends up working thematically in the story’s favor) and a few amateur lighting cues — but the overall impact of the short film is potent and aggressive. I especially loved the image of a piece of paper with continuous hollow fun advertised on one side and the chance to escape the cycle on the other.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Reeves

Twentieth Century Fox

When some actors and directors promote an adaptation or remake they’ll pretend they’ve always been fans of the original movie or the comic. You can generally tell when they’re lying, trying to pander to fans. Thankfully, real die-hard fans often get to be a part of properties that actually mean something to them. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, Matt Reeves, is one of those people.

Like most kids growing up in the ’80s, the New York-born filmmaker gravitated toward E.T., Close Encounters, and Star Wars. For Reeves, though, those films never held a candle to Planet of the Apes. “That was my obsession. That was my Star Wars,” he tells us over the phone, counting the hours until the film opens this Friday.

When it comes to the Apes franchise the original film and, the strangest of the series, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, are his favorites — Reeves is still shaken by the image of the mutated humans removing their faces in the latter film. He also has a deep fondness for the television series which only lasted, to his surprise, three months back in 1974.

“I thought for sure it was on for years because it took up so much of my childhood. I had dolls, the records, and these comic books. I was so obsessed with that world.”

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Sharp Objects

Broadway Books

By the time 2014 closes out, fans of Gillian Flynn‘s uniquely thrilling (and, typically, totally dark) novels will be doubly treated to a pair of new films based on her works. For an author who has so far only penned three books, that’s pretty handy work, but for awhile there, Flynn was going to be three for three in the feature adaptation department. Last summer, all of Flynn’s novels were in various states of cinematic production, with David Fincher‘s Gone Girl enjoying the bulk of the hype (it’s certainly the most star-studded production of the trio), Gilles Paquet-Brenner‘s Dark Places secure in a very respectable second place position and Sharp Objects just sort of hanging out in vague pre-production land.

Gone Girl will now hit theaters on October 3 (though the possibility that it will bow at TIFF in September seems like a safe enough bet), just a month after Dark Places releases (with a September 1 release date, it sure would be nice to see a trailer or something soon, cough cough), but what about that Sharp Objects movie? Turns out, there’s not going to be one — because it’s going to be a Sharp Objects television show. This is fantastic news.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

20th Century Fox

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was so impressive it washed the taste of Tim Burton’s failed Apes remake out of our mouths for good. If there was a problem with the 2011 reboot, it was that the humans, while adequate, did not match the screen presence of the real leads of the film: Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his followers.

The sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, wisely keeps its focus on the apes while also putting enough thought into the humans to make director Matt Reeves‘ movie a consistently thrilling and emotional summer blockbuster.

Ten years after the Golden Gate Bridge showdown, the simian flu has killed billions. The Apes, who’ve now built a peaceful community together, even wonder if there are any humans left. Led by their strong leader, Caesar, who’s now a family man, they live by a simple code: apes don’t harm apes. They’ve seen the mistakes made by humans and do not want history to repeat itself. Their way of life is interrupted (as it often is) when people enter the picture. Led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a group of humans want to enter Caesar’s territory, hoping to bring power back to San Francisco. Both sides have to work together to make this happen, so naturally, hate and distrust bubble up between the two sides.

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Prometheus Weyland TED Talk

Twentieth Century Fox

In film, we tend to focus on the underdogs and their struggles, but what about the big guys up at the top who make it so good to be bad? The largest, most evil corporations in film don’t give a damn about the little guys; they don’t really care about anything at all except money power, and staying successful no matter what it takes — or how many feet they need to trample.

It’s time to celebrate that by featuring the best of the worst. Here are the most evil corporations in movies.

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108 Media

108 Media

Mona (Aiysha Hart) arrives home late, suitcase in hand, and it’s clear in the way she sneaks in that she’s hiding something. Her mother (Harvey Virdi) welcomes her, but the older woman’s chilly demeanor barely conceals her disapproval of her daughter’s late-night gallivanting. Mona’s older brother, Kasim (Faraz Ayub), shows up, and the three eat dinner and relax in front of the television.

Except none of them are even the slightest bit relaxed. Mona’s furtive glances at a knife in the kitchen and Kasim’s equally covert looks to mother add to a growing tension between them all. It’s broken as Kasim suddenly begins to strangle his sister while their mother holds Mona’s legs. The young woman struggles and writhes to no avail, attempting and failing to reach the knife she had secured in her back pocket, and before long her movements cease and she crumples, dead, into the couch cushions.

Or does she?

Honour targets a real-world issue that often fails to generate the kind of long-term outrage and disgust that it truly deserves, but the concept of honor killings is treated here as little more than thriller fodder. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if there were actual thrills to go along with it.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

WB Television

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere.

There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Ridley Scott is no stranger to period epics, but Gladiator aside, he hasn’t had the best of luck with them at the box office. 1492: Conquest of Paradise disappeared from theaters faster than the Native Americans did from Columbus’ conscience, and Robin Hood resulted in people wishing they were watching the Kevin Costner version. (Okay, maybe that was just me.) His 2005 religious-themed epic meanwhile, Kingdom of Heaven, failed to appeal to audiences and only banked less than $50 million domestic (on a $130m budget).

But Scott’s nothing if not persistent — hence his penchant for director’s cuts — and he’s ready to try his hand at another biblical epic combining faith in a god with slow-motion death from horseback. And he found two perfect Middle Eastern actors to head up his cast.

Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of the tiff between Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) that resulted in the former orchestrating a mass exit of god-fearing slaves out of Egypt and the latter being inundated with messy plagues.

Check out the first trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings below.

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Image Entertainment

Image Entertainment

Bible epics are so in right now as evident Noah and the upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings, and thanks to the combined efforts of Godzilla and Guillermo del Toro, monster movies are also back in vogue. So, like pious peanut butter and unimaginable chocolate carnage these two great genre tastes have come together for a David and Goliath movie.

Well, sort of. It’ll actually by a post-Goliath David and Goliath movie, but if we’re lucky, we’ll still get an awesome Goliath corpse “elephant graveyard” scene.

First reported by Variety, the working title for the film is David, and it’ll be coming from the same team currently hard at work making the story of Moses into something more interesting than your average Sunday school class. Ridley Scott will be producing the film along with Chernin Entertainment (20th Century Fox will reign over all), while Jonathan Stokes will handle the screenplay.

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Dumbo Drunk

Walt Disney Productions

Cue the most appropriate tagline: You will believe an elephant can fly!

Minus a new version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which it forfeited, Disney seems to be planning a live-action remake of all of its animated classics. The good news is that eventually they’ll get to a proper redo of The Black Cauldron. The bad news is that, yes, it’s raping your childhood, your parents’ childhood and in some cases your grandparents’ childhood. I can only imagine what 80 year olds think of the news that now Dumbo is up on the board for another go, according to The Hollywood Reporter (and honoring the wish of Elle Fanning). I also can only imagine what my two-year-old son, who has already seen Dumbo maybe hundreds of times (thanks Netflix iPad app!), will think when he can comprehend what it’s like to hear that your favorite movie of all time is being remade.

Because my son has seen Dumbo over and over and over (at only 64 minutes, there’s room for those repeat viewings to occur immediately), I have seen Dumbo over and over and over, too. I know it inside and out. And here’s my reaction: how’s that going to work? The thing about Dumbo is it’s mostly about anthropomorphic animals. Not as much as Disney’s Robin Hood — unlike that movie, the animals here stick to semi-realistic roles within a human-run world, although they talk and sometimes wear clothes — but for the sake of a live-action movie I think this story and its characters are going to rely a whole hell of a lot on CGI. To the point that it might hardly be qualified as “live-action” in the way such remakes as Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and the upcoming Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast movies are, compared to their originals.

Even the studio’s Jungle Book redo could at least seem to rely on real animals for much of its scenes. None of its characters do such fantastical things as the unnaturally big-eared Dumbo does when he flies. Something tells me this idea is about as good as having a bunch of elephants form a pyramid atop a bouncy ball. 

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Summer Movie Diaries

This February, Film School Rejects turned a gloriously unruly 8 years old. Which means for me that, including the time spent blogging elsewhere prior to starting FSR, I have been blogging the world of cinema for almost a decade. It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had. And as the years go by and the grey hairs continue to sprout, I continue to learn new things about my own taste. In film, in companions, in life experiences. It has all changed not always drastically with time.

I’ve also experienced changes in behavior. In the beginning, I got into this business for the free movies (there is no such thing as the much mythicized “movie blogger groupie,” so movies it is). But as my work with the site has evolved, especially in recent years, I’ve found myself missing out on all the movie-related fun. It’s not about seeing movies. It’s about spreadsheets, advertisers, more spreadsheets and finding creative ways to make sure we find the best writers on the web and pay them somewhat appropriately. There are other distractions. Living in the New Golden Age of Television certainly isn’t helping solidify my commitment to seeing many movies. Between catching up on great shows like Orphan Black and Fargo and reading, watching, blogging and podcasting about all things Game of Thrones, television is a relentless distraction.

It’s about time that I issue cinema an apology: I’m sorry, movies, I’ve been neglecting you lately. I feel like that guy, we all know him, who sees two movies a year and declares Tammy the funniest movie of the year. It’s a sad state of affairs. In an effort to rectify this, I’m heading out to the movies in force for the rest of summer in the hope that I’ll re-ignite that flame. Soggy popcorn and overpriced drinks, here I come. I’m even looking forward to spending time with you, lady who won’t stop reacting out loud to poorly telegraphed dramatic beats. It’s a journey long overdue in my 2014: the quest to see a lot of great movies. And if you’re interested, I’d like to take you along for the ride in this, a new feature I call The Summer Movie Diaries. We begin this week with the biggest, loudest and boldest of summer thus far: a spiritual summer flick, a massive mutant sequel and that perennial powerhouse of boom: Michael Bay.

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batman-v-superman-logo

Warner Bros. Pictures

Here’s something that is true: filmmaker Kevin Smith is a consummate comic book fan, one who almost got to see his own vision of Superman hit the big screen a couple of decades ago (the film that would have been titled Superman Lives, a failed feature that was so tweaked, rewritten, and run into the ground that it was eventually in the nineties), one who has also penned some special series about another favorite comic book superhero (that would be Batman) and someone who is clearly excited about what Zack Snyder‘s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice holds for DC Comics’ most beloved superheroes and the DC universe at large. Here’s something else that is true: Kevin Smith is not involved with Batman v Superman, and the proliferation of rumors that link the busy filmmaker to a film that he’s not even remotely attached to have become so bizarre and bloated that it’s incredible that anyone could discuss them with a straight face, no matter how desperate everyone seems to be for information on the much-hyped film.

The latest Smith-centric rumor that recently hit the web held that Smith penned an entire fake script for the production, which was then purposely leaked it to the press to throw them off the trail of the film’s actual direction. This is, of course, not true. Smith himself took to the Internet today to straighten out a rumor that gained significant traction, well, on the Internet. Cinema Blend clued their readers in to a Smith announcement (Smith-nnouncement? Smod-ment?) earlier today that vowed to clear up the confusion, at least in his own way.

So did Kevin Smith, a director who has a history with both Superman and Batman and an abiding love for comic book heroes write a fake script for a film that he has zero involvement in beyond his own intense fandom? Of course he didn’t. Come on.

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