Action Fest

Gina Carano in Haywire

When you think of the typical action hero, the image that immediately leaps to mind is undoubtedly that of a bloody, bandana-clad dude with a massive gun, or a rouge tough guy cop, or perhaps a macho kung-fu master. In other words…males. While action is a genre long dominated by men, there have been a few notable (read: 100% ass-kicking) action heroines that have left their own indelible mark: Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. To that list, we must now certainly add Gina Carano, star of Steven Soderbergh’s recent action thriller Haywire. Gina however had the advantage of being a certified badass long before throwing her first punch on screen. She is a longtime student of Muay Thai, a former champion MMA fighter, and was in fact involved in some of the first sanctioned female fights in MMA history. With knockout after knockout Carano, an undeniable knockout herself, proved that beauty and strength were far from mutually exclusive. Her work in Haywire, coupled with her successful MMA career, inspired the head honchos at ActionFest to create a new award for which she will be the first recipient. The Chick Norris Best Female Action Star Award, playfully adapted from the name of fest founder (and action legend in his own right) Chuck Norris, celebrates the contribution women have made and continue to make to action cinema. We got a chance to talk to Gina about the award, about Haywire, and, oddly, […]

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For those of you who haven’t heard, there’s a new film festival on the scene and its name is Action Fest! Founded by three men including Chuck Norris’s brother Aaron Norris, Action Fest is the self-proclaimed film festival with a body count. Magnolia exec Tom Quinn is also behind the scenes for the festival alongside Colin Geddes, the man responsible for the Toronto International Film Festival’s venerable Midnight Madness slate. Action Fest is a whirlwind festival held over a weekend in early April in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. Movies are jam-packed back to back over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was able to attend all day Friday and Saturday and saw 9 films in my short time there. I’ve done full reviews for Ironclad and A Lonely Place to Die. For the rest of the films I saw I’ll be breaking things up into two pieces with three mini-reviews each, one for each day. Finally, I’ll do a wrap-up piece summarizing the fest and what played and talking a little about the experience.

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The Week That Was

What is The Week That Was? Nothing much, just a recap of all that was great and wonderful here on Film School Rejects over the course of the last week. And in a week such as this, when we reviewed controversial and conversation-worthy films from the minds of Ayn Rand, Wes Craven and Robert Redford, it’s important to take a look back at the best of what was written. That, and we interviewed Takashi Miike, so we’ve got that going for us. Also, I have access to the traffic stats. I know that all of you did not read every one of our best articles. What’s the deal with that, beloved readers? Lets right those wrongs on a pantsless Sunday afternoon. Start with the articles listed in this compilation and work your way back. Do it now.

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The Scottish highlands are without doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth. In my mind, they are inexorably linked to Christopher Lambert’s Connor MacLeod and the Highlander series. There can be only one! While it may induce some snickers as audience members recall the TV series and sing the intro song in their heads, the Scottish highlands are the perfect setting for Julian Gilbey’s new film A Lonely Place to Die. A group of five friends take a vacation to hike and rock climb through the Scottish highlands. Their fun is cut short when they discover a young Serbian girl being held captive in the woods. Trying to save her, the inadvertently embark a new, more dangerous outdoor adventure. When the girl’s captors discover her missing, they begin hunting for her and those who uncovered their secret. With mercenaries sent by the girl’s father on their way for the ransom exchange, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues.

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