13 Assassins

The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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The 10 Best Action Films of 2011

Some other sites or site runners may look down on lists, but those people are what are known as no-fun douche bags, because really, lists are awesome. They are short, easy to digest little morsels that you can wash down with a carbonated beverage, argue about, and take recommendations from. If you don’t like lists, you are worse than Hitler. You know what’s better than Hitler? Lots of stuff, like peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter cups pressed into them. That, and also these ten action movies, which are my favorite for the year. Yeah, you’ll probably disagree, so comment below or get your own damn website.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we speak with legendary actor Ron Perlman about his white dreadlocks in Bunraku, we’ll chat with The Dark Knight Rises executive producer Michael Uslan about his incredible journey to bringing Batman to the screen, and we’ll talk with Brian Salisbury and Luke Mullen about favorite films from Fantastic Fests past to get excited for the debauchery of this week. Plus, Screenrant editors/Screenrant Underground Podcast hosts Ben Kendrick and Rob Keyes fight to the pain in our Movie News Pop Quiz. Is it any wonder we end up talking about Qwikster? Download This Episode

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Culture Warrior

Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]

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This Week in DVD

Happy day after the Fourth of July! I hope you got plenty of patriotic presents under the flagpole this year, but if you received gift-cards like I did you’re in luck as there are a couple DVDs worth picking up this week. Sure one’s Japanese and the other is Canadian, but that doesn’t mean they’re not pro-democracy, pro-freedom, and all kinds of awesome. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it (and help out FSR in the process). 13 Assassins A group of samurai choose honor over duty and make a stand against an evil lord who murders, rapes, and maims with impunity. Takashi Miike crafts one of his rare straight-forward films that eschews zaniness and offensive visuals for plot, character, and sincere action. Short fight scenes dot the opening hour, but most of that time is given over to the samurai coming together and planning their attack. The final hour is where it all comes together as the baker’s dozen go up against a few hundred of the lord’s soldiers with bows and arrows, swords, and trap-filled architecture. It’s an exciting and thrilling adventure filled with heroism, integrity, and bloodshed, and it’s not to be missed.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features a group of fast-driving thieves, a few high school memories, and 13 sword-wielding badasses to chop all of that in half as gallons of the red stuff spray from every opening.

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The Reject Report

Furious sits alone on a hill underneath a single tree that shades it. Its buddy Fast is out gallivanting around town with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, jacking Supras and drinking Corona like it holds the key to eternal youth, and Furious is sad. That’s okay, Furious, we still like you. And it’s not like Fast Five is going to open huge. It’s not as if we’re looking at another $70+-million opening for a Fast and Furious entry. Fast couldn’t do that without you. Oh, wait, the Rock is in this one, too. Yeah. It probably will. Sorry, Furious. We’ll catch you next time. Maybe.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with a master Japanese filmmaker, a rising non-Japanese directing talent, discuss the legacy of Scream, and ask why there isn’t a modern-day Roger Corman. Takashi Miike is an incredible filmmaker, and as it turns out, a fascinating interview. Hopefully you speak Japanese, but if you don’t, the entire interview is in English. Now a staple of SXSW, Sebastian Gutierrez makes funny, sexy films that (gasp) focus on dialogue, character and cleavage. He joins me to talk about his new movie Girl Walks Into a Bar, and why making it the first film specifically made for internet distribution was the correct, crazy choice. Even though we keep hearing about a filmmaking revolution in the hands of the people, it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Eric Vespe from Aint It Cool and Aaron Morgan from Austin join me to ask why a new workhorse/creative force hasn’t emerged with all the inexpensive cameras just lying around for the taking. Plus, Eric Vespe  continues our streak of guests named Eric (and our one-show streak of guests named Eric Vespe) by going blade to blade against Movie News Pop Quiz Champion and FSR associate editor Rob Hunter. Who will come out alive? Will it be Wes Craven‘s career? Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. How will you know what to watch this month? Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of March, taking naps, playing tether-ball, and researching movies at the last minute to keep you informed about what’s coming out in April. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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So you’ve eaten at Pita Pit and Best Wurst (because there’s nothing wrong with two lunches) and you’re scoping out theaters ready to get more movies on, but you have no idea what you’re going to see. That teary indie drama or that ridiculous sci-fi comedy? You don’t know do you? And you can’t figure it out on your own for some reason. Fortunately, we’ve created this handy guide to help you in your time of duress. Use it wisely. There’s no chance it’ll send you to the porno theater across the highway, so if you end up there, it’s on you.

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Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins isn’t just one great movie. It’s two. The first is a reverent, calm look at the brewing battle that delivers a lot of tense moments and a bit of comedy. The second is a blood bath. Literally. There are people actually bathing in blood from thousands of sliced up foes. Those pieces come together to make one incredible movie that absolutely feels like Miike channeling Kurosawa after maxing out his credit card buying karo syrup and red dye. The characters are all compelling, and they’re even more fun to watch while they’re cutting down an army like so much wheat. The action is intense enough to make the audience need to wipe sweat off its collective brow, and the movie is coming to SXSW. To celebrate that, they’ve released a brand new, stylish poster that you can only see here at FSR (until you can see it everywhere else):

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Rob Hunter drops by to help us countdown our favorites of 2010 while looking forward to the New Year’s Resolutions the filmmakers of the future should adhere to. Out with old, in with the old. Plus, we would have found time to review the releases of the week if there were any. We can’t wait for the executives to get back to work, either. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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As I expressed earlier in the week as our 2010 Year in Review began, I take it as a great honor that I am able to put together my list of the Best Films of the Year as part of my Editor’s Picks entry. And while I’m a massive fan of my own perspective and opinions, I’m an even bigger fan of the writing and ever-diverse tastes of the Film School Rejects reviewing staff. These are the folks who, through their sensational (and often divisive) review-writing, keep you coming back for more each and every day. They travel the world and brave the crowds at festivals, conventions, preview screenings and special events to bring you some of the industry’s sharpest, most honest film coverage. And I for one am honored to have them all on this team. Just as I did last year, I couldn’t wait to see which films each writer would put on their Top 5 lists as the best films of the year. And just as they did last year, they didn’t disappoint with their unique, ever-fascinating selections. So read on dear reader, as we present the crown jewel of our 2010 Year in Review: The Staff Picks.

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The promise of 13 Assassins is a final act that showcases some of the best, most innovative, most brutal fighting that the screen has seen. Everything leads up to it – from the introduction of the 13, to the steel-headed conversations between former allies turned enemies, to the preparation of a small town that the assassin’s leader vows to turn into a killing field. Everything leads up to it, and it delivers. It delivers with such intensity that it’s hard to breath, that it’s difficult not to stand up and cheer, that a little bad CGI doesn’t ruin the ridiculous flaming weapon that the CGI is meant to create. Fortunately, the build up to the final act is beautiful in its own right. The whole experience is brilliant and deadly. In the waning days of the samurai, an evil lord rapes young women, kills on a whim, and plans on delivering war back to the peaceful nation. Since he’s the Shogun’s younger brother, he’s above the law. However, he’s not above being killed by a band of assassins hired by a senior government official to take out the lord and leave his head somewhere in the dirt of the Japanese countryside.

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published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C
published: 11.18.2014
B+
published: 11.14.2014
B+


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