Another Year

Reel Sex

Most people, as they recover from seasonal snacking comas and hangovers brought on by liquid medication for too much concentrated family time, spend these last few weeks of December reflecting on the year past. While fellow Reject Landon Palmer pointed out earlier today that 2011 has already been lauded as a “quiet” year by many of our peers, I would like to address how cinematic sex and relationships embrace this quietness through an enveloping theme of sadness. As base as it might sound, a lot of tragic shit went down in 2011; from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Oakland riots to the honoring of ten years post-9/11, this year was a study in human perseverance. And as great art always succeeds at doing, film mirrored the world’s rising tension, air of tragedy, and sense of loss time and time again.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Welcome back to This Week in Blu-ray, a column that usually runs on Tuesday. Due to a fantastic and relentlessly voluminous assortment of Blu-ray releases this week, it’s a little late. So we’ll dispense with all of the apologies and long-winded lead-ins, as we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Beginning with the best storytelling the small-screen has to offer… Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Lets just lay it out there: the final two episodes of Breaking Bad‘s third season could be two of the greatest, most intensely dramatic and incredibly well-written episodes in the era of color. But it’s the build to those two episodes, one that you don’t even notice as it’s happening, that is brilliant. What Vince Gilligan and team have created in the story of Walter White (Emmy winner Bryan Cranston) is one of the fascinating good guy gone bad, but for (sometimes) good reasons stories of all-time. Season three brings in the Mexican cartel, sends Walter’s partner (Emmy winner Aaron Paul) off the deep end and delivers its big guy punch in the end. For those who are experiencing it fresh now on Blu-ray (something you should do, if it’s not clear just yet), count yourselves among the lucky ones. Those who watched it live have been waiting for more than a year to see what happens next. As for the Blu presentation, it’s loaded with more than 10 hours of add-ons, a reward for those who have patiently awaited the release. Three […]

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. As I mentioned in the Best Adapted Screenplay post, the process of making a film involves thousands of moving parts and pieces from the actors to the director to the caterers and beyond, but arguably the most integral aspect of the process is the script. I say arguable, but I’m only being polite. The script is the most important part of a film… it’s responsible for the words coming out of the actors’ mouths, for the shifts in story, for the very tale itself. Actors bring it to life and the director makes it a visual reality, but it all starts from the script. Some folks may argue otherwise, but an original screenplay is far tougher to write than one adapted from a previously existing source. The heavy lifting has all been done for you when the story beats are already laid out in a book, play, or previous film. An original screenplay demands the writer create and craft everything from scratch, from the characters to the story, and the ones who get it right deserve a bigger statuette than their “Adapted Screenplay” contemporaries. And yes, I’m kidding. Anyone who completes a screenplay, whether it be an original or an adaptation, whether it win an award or not, whether it gets produced or not… you have my respect and awe. The nominees are listed below with my prediction […]

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Culture Warrior

Famed British filmmaker Mike Leigh recently received his fifth screenwriting nomination for Another Year. Another Oscar nomination for a highly celebrated filmmaker should be surprising to no one except, in this special case, for the fact that precisely zero of Leigh’s nominated films actually use screenplays. Leigh’s films are constructed through a painstaking and long-term process of creating characters and scenarios with his cast and creative team. His films aren’t improvised in the sense of, say, a Christopher Guest film, where a basic framework exists and actors are allowed to ad-lib and play with(in) that paradigm. Leigh’s films are instead created from the outset through an involved collaborative process. Leigh’s regular team of actors bring to each individual film their construction of a character from scratch. Details arise eventually through this collaboration, and the final work projected onscreen is the end result of a long selection of various possibilities. The only reason Leigh’s films even qualify for screenwriting awards is because of the written script that Leigh creates after the end product has been made. The physical screenplay, in this case, is nothing more than a transcription written after the fact, or a record of a much larger event (whose details are largely unknown to the audience). While Leigh is the sole nominee for Another Year, the creation of the script (or, in this case, the transcript) is just as indebted to the creative efforts of other individuals involved. Stars Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville are, in a sense, just […]

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At the end of the 90s, famous Oscar show writer and Celebrity Fit Club contestant Bruce Vilanch claimed that, “Generally with the Oscars…there isn’t much you can do until the nominations are announced. Then you know what kind of year you’re dealing with – what’s been overlooked, what the issues are.” He was talking about preparing to write the show, but it applies to everyone from the directors, producers and stars on down to the fans. It’s fun to guess around the water cooler (your office still has a water cooler?), but until now, it’s all been speculation. Thankfully, almost all that speculation has been spot on, so we can all continue our conversations about whether Black Swan will beat The Social Network for Best Picture. Whether Natalie Portman has any true competition for Best Actress. Whether, most importantly of all, Colleen Atwood will beat Mary Zophres for Best Costume Design. Here they are. The 2011 Academy Award nominees:

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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 Reject Report

With the year drawing to a close this very weekend, there isn’t much in the way of new releases to talk about. Only two films are opening this weekend, both of them in limited, and only one of those really worth mentioning in any amount of detail. The rest of the cards have been set. Many of them will be falling into the same slots where they were dealt last weekend save for a few shakeups here and there. The Fockers might get knocked down a peg or two. Rooster Cogburn might fill those theaters, you son of a bitch. The King’s Speech could hold onto its numbers just well enough to squeak onto the charts. All in all, it seems like good weekend for some Four Loko, a few friends, and a dropping ball that may or may not hold Snookie inside.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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