A Clockwork Orange

Dr. No

Ho-Ho-Ho. ‘Tis the season to watch Die Hard, the classic Christmas-set action blockbuster that is also one of the most influential movies of all time. Not only has it spawned four actual sequels and a number of pseudo sequels, it’s also been copied, ripped off and practically remade over and over again without shame. And yet Die Hard was not even the first “Die Hard on a ____ ” movie. Nor was it a wholly original work, having been adapted from a book that was meant to be a sequel to another book and its movie adaptation. As much as this John McTiernan-directed breakout for Bruce Willis became a leader in its genre, it still owed a ton to movies that came before it. Some of those are indirect precursors in premise, others explicitly referenced. Die Hard is a movie that is, like its hero is said to be, an “orphan of a bankrupt culture,” informed by many movies its creators likely saw as children. That doesn’t make it bankrupt itself, because the borrowing from and alluding to earlier works has enriched masterpieces for millennia. Below is a list of movies that any Die Hard fan or newbie should go back and look at in order to be familiar with some great oldies as well as to better appreciate this 1988 hit through that familiarity. As usual, I’ve selected 12 titles, which is an especially appropriate number for a Christmas movie. Maybe watch Die Hard on December 25th and then watch one […]


Warner Bros.

Stanley Kubrick has never really been one of my favorite directors, and that’s probably no where more evident than in my preference of Eyes Wide Shut as the best of his films. In my defense I’d only seen five of Kubrick’s movies up until recently, but I also just really love the atmosphere, relationship commentary and black humor of the film. Warner Bros. has just released a new Blu-ray collection called Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection, and it features eight of his films along with a handful of documentaries on his work and life including a brand new one, Kubrick Remembered. The eight films featured are his final eight (so his first five, Fear and Desire through Spartacus, are not included), but it serves well as a fantastic introduction to his acclaimed and eclectic career. The set also includes a hardcover book filled with thoughts and photos, but as with any collection it’s the movies that must speak for themselves.


Casablanca Movie

Sometimes, the urge to crack open a cold one when you’re stuck in the middle of a Netflix binge can get overwhelming. And it’s understandable; so many of our favorite films feature incredible bars and pubs that put our local haunts and dives to shame, intergalactic gathering spots that bring together alien races, chic international watering holes and rough roadsides that may necessitate a bodyguard or two. While we can’t frequent these cinematic watering holes, it’s okay to daydream and sip a martini or two while doing so. Here are the movie bars at which we’d love to pull up a stool.



This Tuesday is the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of Reservoir Dogs, the film that not only put Quentin Tarantino on the map as an era-defining filmmaker but also gave the 3rd wave ska scene its own Phenix City Story (or Guns of Navarone or Dr. No or Scarface). Never mind the movie’s immediate legacy, though, because two decades later the story of “five total strangers” who “team up for the perfect crime” has outlasted the oddly inaccurate marketing (i.e. those lines from the posters, which also feature Chris Penn in a suit), the many copycats, the ska album samplings and even the overshadowing success and popularity of Pulp Fiction as the director’s big breakthrough to remain a significant pioneer and classic of American independent cinema. During its run in U.S. cinemas, which followed a debut at Sundance and appearances at Cannes and Toronto, not to mention earlier openings in parts of Europe, Reservoir Dogs never played on more than 61 screens, yet it earned close to $3 million. I’m certain it never hit my town in the suburbs, but I recall the first time ever hearing about it via a drawing of an ear in Entertainment Weekly illustrating a short note about the famously violent scene (my memory of this could be slightly off). And like so many of the film’s fans, I didn’t see it until the video came out the following Spring, at which time the torture bit became just one of numerous memorable moments. In […]



As most of us no doubt know, it’s hard enough just to live with yourself after committing a gruesome murder – let alone dealing with logistics of the body and police and all that jazz. Thank god the act itself can be done pretty easily these days – what with all the guns and knives and catapults we have access to. Of course the problem is that your victim is always going to see it coming when you’re wheeling out your homemade trebuchet, which is why the best weapon is the one that’s right under their noses. The moving pictures know this, and have given us some remarkable kills with very unremarkable items in the past… Oh also – be warned now, the following is pretty gross.


A Clockwork Orange Legos

FSR is usually steeped in high-mindedness and moral fiber, but there’s no reason not to highlight something as cool as LEGO versions of iconic movies scenes. Consider it a Friday distraction tucked between a review of the latest Todd Solondz movie and (spoiler alert) breaking news about a possible new Jackass movie. Somehow it makes complete sense. Especially because these images are undeniable. The fine folks at BostInno discovered this internet wonder – a series of sharply photographed movies scenes (from Hitchcock to Tarantino) done with LEGO figures. There’s a LEGO movie in the works, there are movie scenes done in LEGO and the snake of culture continues to eat its tail. Check out the images for yourself:


Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick has appeared in the credits for at least 17 films since his death in 1999. How is that possible? There’s a ton of people thanking him and making movies about him. His influence stretches even beyond his impressive body of work. The infamous control freak has taken us to the Overlook Hotel, to a War Room where there’s no fighting, on an odyssey in space and beyond. He’s an indelible part of the film conversation who had a rare gift for challenging conventions while embracing components of traditional commercial filmmaking. Last Friday’s Short Film of the Day was a hint at which director this column would take on next, so here it is: a free bit of film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a chaotic mind with a gorgeous eye. Or, as Kirk Douglas put it, “a talented shit.”



It’s another buy-happy week of Blu-ray selections here on This Week in Blu-ray. Warner Bros. comes correct with a brilliant release of A Clockwork Orange, George Lucas does video commentary and doesn’t talk about Star Wars, vampires and werewolves tear each others’ clothes off, Nic Cage kills just about everyone, Javier Bardem is handsome and someone thought it would be a good idea to put Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke together on-screen. It was not. Reading this Blu-ray column, however, is a great idea. A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition A Clockwork Orange is one of those great films that I’ve had the honor of seeing properly projected. Of course, that was at 3am during a sci-fi marathon and I may have slept through the second act, but the fact remains: I’ve seen what it’s supposed to look like. So when I report that it looks even better on Blu-ray, that’s not something to take lightly. This week’s Pick was an easy one. Warner Bros. has handled Stanley Kubrick’s ultra-violent masterpiece with great care. From the sturdy, book-like packaging to the fresh Blu-ray exclusive features (including one where Malcolm McDowell looks back 40 years later and another that considers the cultural impact of the film’s violent nature), everything is in step with the greatest expectations for what this release should look like. It’s a collector’s item and a wonderful celebration of a film that, even after 40-years, still holds up as a stunning testimony to the greatness of Stanley Kubrick.



With a little less than a week to go until I land at Nice Airport and get the hugely unglamorous Hack Bus into Cannes along with my boys from ObsessedWithFilm.com to begin FSR’s official Cannes film festival 2011 coverage, now is surely a prudent time to offer my thoughts on the biggest and brightest films showing on the Croisette this year. You already know what films are showing, so I won’t exhaustively trawl back through the list, but I wanted to take the opportunity to announce what I am particularly excited about. This also gives me the opportunity post-festival to look back at happier, simpler times when my optimism at seeing four films a day wasn’t yet destroyed by watching three incredibly boring flicks in a row, followed by a blockbuster during which I fell asleep (as happened in 2009). Anyway, lesson learned, and this year I’ll be packing as many natural amphetamines as possible. If you’re heading out there look for me, I’ll be the guy with the grinding jaw, the sallow eyes and the notepad full of doodles/plans to change the future of cinema. So anyway, here’s what I’m looking forward to most.



The Cannes Film Festival is about far more than just the Competition titles, and the Cannes Classics line-up allows those willing to broaden their focus to experience often seminal works on the big-screen for the first time. Last year, I nearly got to see The African Queen for instance, but was sadly unable thanks to a clash in the chaotic screening schedule. This year, I’m determined to see at least one of the just-announced films in the line-up, and I shall not be thwarted. Unless there’s something, like really good on at the same time… Anyway, the official Cannes site has today released the Classics, and features some of the most important films in cinematic history, including the restored color version of Georges Méliès’ A Trip To The Moon, beefed up with a brand new soundtrack from French hipsters AIR, plus restored prints of A Clockwork Orange and special screenings of Bertolucci’s The Conformist and De Niro’s A Bronx Tale. That’s some line-up for what is usually considered only a tertiary concern out on the Croisette. The full line-up is as follows:



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s interested only in providing you with movie news, it does not seek to earn your affection. Alright, maybe not your affection, but definitely your obedience. So be a good little soldier and read it every night before you lay your head down to sleep. We open tonight with a peek at the French poster for Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, which may or may not be debuting in the UK right before it opens at the Cannes Film Festival. All I know is that I’m interested to see it, because reports have been all over the place. And all over the place usually isn’t a bad thing when it comes to a Terrence Malick film.



A few months back, a fight for free expression was exercised by the Weinstein Company for the Sundance-indie favorite Blue Valentine to be theatrically released with an R-rating instead of the dreaded NC-17. Many things about this pseudo-fight are nothing special: there’s hardly anything surprising about fights with the MPAA or about the Weinsteins making a fuss – it’s how they’ve succeeded in the business for decades. But this fuss, and the anti-MPAA lobbying contained within it, seemed significantly more justified because it was exercised in the name of potentially getting an exceptional indie into more theaters across the country (and while the film does star two recognizable names, it is, economically speaking, very much a truly modest indie of the classic Sundance variety). In the end, the Weinsteins got their way, and justifiably so. The NC-17 rating has become an economic form of censorship: nothing associated with the label, or the institution that bestows that label, has the power to actively stop distribution of NC-17 films, but because of the rating’s associations with sexually-explicit content, and because of the liability and extra measures required of theaters in preventing young people from sneaking their way into such films, many theaters (and some entire theater chains) will not exhibit films with such a rating. This would have relegated Blue Valentine, at best, to arthouse theaters in big cities. Such theaters are no doubt where Blue Valentine will play best regardless, but the key word here is opportunity – an R-rating provides […]


Vintage Trailer of the Day Logo

Everyday, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer will most likely give you a seizure, even though it’s as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. Drink some milk plus, toss a little Ludwig Van, and pin your eyelids to your forehead for maximum enjoyment. Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. Think you know what it is? Check out the trailer after the jump.



Being the adventures of some film geeks who love music, ironic imagery and a bit of the old ultra-violence – we take a look at one of the best films of all time.



It is time to break out all of those gift cards and that $20 you got from grandma and pick up some content for that sweet new Blu-ray player you opened yesterday morning, folks. At least my hope is that you all got a Blu-ray player…



Keanu Reeves’ The Day The Earth Stood Still remake got us thinking about other impending re-imaginings of science fiction classics. That in turn got us thinking about “classic” sci-fi films that should never get remade. Which in turn got us thinking about a few that probably should.



This weekend, the mecca of geekdom was the Drexel Theater in Columbus, Ohio. More than 300 people gathered for 24 hours of science fiction movies. Several of the Rejects were in attendance to enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly that science fiction cinema had to offer.



The Ohio 24-Hour Sci-Fi Marathon is more then just movies. Each year, you get to see hours of additional material like rare and vintage trailers, short subjects, classic cartoons and so much more.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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