Atlas Shrugged

No Pay Nudity

I’m not exactly sure what I’m selling here. At first I thought No Pay, Nudity was a documentary about actors. I thought Laurie Metcalf, Nathan Lane, Ted Levine and others were appearing to talk about the positives and negatives of their profession. Then I thought maybe they were at least playing themselves in the movie. After watching the Kickstarter campaign video I don’t know what the finished result will be. It has a scrip by Ethan Sandler (Whitney… wait, don’t go away yet), so it’s fictional. And in addition to the actors already mentioned, the huge ensemble on board includes Lewis Black, Brent Spiner, Jessica Hecht, Austin Pendleton, Boyd Gaines, Mark Blum, Peter Jacobsen and many more whose face you’d recognize before their name. It’s basically a movie full of “that guy” non-stars. But not Curtis Armstrong, apparently, though he does show up in the campaign video. I guess having someone in your Kickstarter video who isn’t in your movie is like today’s equivalent of having a ton of people in the “Ghostbusters” music video who aren’t in Ghostbusters. Too bad, I like Curtis Armstrong. I had wished Teri Garr was in Ghostbusters, too. Anyway, I’m just typing filler here because there’s not a whole lot to say about No Pay, Nudity except that it will have music by Loudon Wainwright III and it has a pretty funny video hosted by director Lee Wilkof (another character actor himself) and it has some pretty neat incentives, including voice mail greetings from […]

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Normally the blue birds that deliver the mail sing a song as they fly along, but today they seemed grim and despondent. Perhaps it’s because they had to drop the lump of coal that is the press release announcing a greenlit Atlas Shrugged: Part 2 into the old inbox. Or perhaps they’ve just been sick. Either way, a follow-up to the completely inept filmmaking of the first film will be standing awkwardly in front of cameras soon. Not only that, it will ambitiously seek to have the movie ready for theaters by October of this year at the zero hour of, what the release calls, “a fever pitched presidential election season.” It even comes with its own poster and a spooky teaser trailer where pundits can’t agree on how pronounce Ayn Rand‘s name:

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The Holiday Gift Guide: DVD and Blu-ray

Merry Christmas movie/TV/goat-cheese lovers! As part of our week-long gift guide extravaganza thingamajig we’ve put together a list of Blu-rays, DVD and a few other ideas for you to use when shopping for others or for putting on your own Christmas list. Or both. Some of the films below are from years past, but they all hit Blu-ray and/or DVD this year so they totally count for this gift guide. Click on the links to be magically transported to Amazon, AmazonUK and other places where lovely things can be found.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing about movies that happens every week night, just before you go to bed. It brings you dangerous ideas, fascinating movie news and all that in between copious helpings of shenanigans. We begin tonight with one of three beautiful new images from Pixar’s upcoming film Brave. As with all Pixar projects, Brave looks absolutely gorgeous and in a point of interest to many, stars their first leading lady hero, Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald. Personally, I’m looking forward to it. Then again, I’ve been pot committed to Pixar for a while. In a terribly sad bit of news, NBC has pulled Community from its midseason schedule. This doesn’t mean that it’s been cancelled, but it’s definitely not a good thing for Community fans (also known as “anyone has ever watched Community“). We should have known that it was too good to last.

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Drinking Games

When the big-screen adaptation of Ayn Rand’s best-selling novel Atlas Shrugged came out on the not-so-subtle date of April 15th earlier this year, the Tea Party thought it was going to be a huge success. Spoiler: It wasn’t. If you want further details on why, you might want to check out Cole Abaius’s in-depth review of the movie here. Now that Atlas Shrugged: Part I is out on DVD and Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray, you can rent it and have your own tea party, but with beer. A beer party. At the suggestion of Mr. Abaius, we present this not-so-complex drinking game to help you get through the first (and possibly only) part of the filmed saga.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as MonkeyTailBeard38 and LifeFindzaWay394 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the duo attempt to figure out word of mouth, movie advertising, critical response, and which one is to blame when a movie fails. Or, you know, it could just be the movie’s quality, but we hate simple answers around here. What separates the blockbusters from the flops? What makes people go see movies?

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Early yesterday, the LA Times blog released quotes from Atlas Shrugged Part 1 writer/producer John Aglialoro which indicated that he was throwing in the towel on making Part 2 and Part 3. The reason, of course, was that the film just didn’t make its money back. Aglialoro spent a reported $10m of his own cash on the production, and a second week drop off hurt the independent flick considerably. The movie has currently only made $3.2m at the box office. It started with an impressive per screen average, but as with other films which zero in on an audience, everyone who wanted to see the movie saw it opening weekend. The numbers dropped, and an expansion was scrapped. Aglialoro very specifically blames critics and what he believes is a collective “fear of Ayn Rand” amongst them for the movie’s failings. So much for personal responsibility. However, it’s his ire and hatred of the critical response that has caused an about-face. Aglialoro now claims that, while he was once defeated, he now stands ready to proceed with making Atlas Shrugged Part 2 and Part 3. Like all misunderstood artists, he should.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as OhDaeSu2039 and CatsandDogsLvng2Gether in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the duo try to avoid the pitfalls of bad novel adaptations by exploring some of the best. How do you take a work by one and turn it into a work by thousands? How do you appease fans while introducing a new audience to the story? Does it always involve whale genitalia? What are the rules of making a great film adaptation of a book?

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Culture Warrior

Ideology is inescapable from cinema. I’ve yet to encounter the situation in which Paul Narboni and Jean-Luc Comolli’s thesis from their essay “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism,” in which they assert “all cinema is political,” isn’t true. Movies are products of various industries, are situated within a  culture, and emerge with assumptions intact surrounding the values intrinsic to that culture, and thus movies are inevitably, in some way or another, products of ideology. How this ideology functions in cinema can be explicit or implicit, didactically deliberate or simply a rarely acknowledged and often expected trope, but ideology persists in cinema nonetheless. Whether it’s an argument made by an advocate documentarian in an independent production or the story of a superhero whose heroism venerates individual accomplishment in big studio tentpole filmmaking, ideology is articulated through movies. But while ideology is always present in cinema, individual films should never be reduced to ideology. I’m certainly not saying that cinema and ideology should be evaluated separately, or should not examined as mutually determining of one another, but we should acknowledge that when we examine cinema and ideology, we are in many ways examining two things which are not separate, but are different in many ways. The reason this particular topic has come of interest to me this week is, not surprisingly, because of the release and subsequent reactions to Paul Johansson’s adaptation of Ayn Rand’s controversial magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. I’m not interested in talking about the film nor necessarily the reaction to it specifically (in full […]

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I imagine the conversation went a little something like this: “But it’s just so damned long. So dense. It’s split up into a trilogy already, but each section is incredibly detailed. We’ll have to cut only the most insignificant parts out, utilize succinct dialogue, and take everything nuanced about it and distill that into visuals for the screen. It’ll be back-breaking, intricate work that will require fortitude and kid gloves in equal measure. There are so many moving parts here, and keeping them coherent and meaningful will be the cyclopean task that either ensures our success or cements our failure. What do you think?” “Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening. Can we hurry this up?” And with that, the task of adapting Ayn Rand‘s novel began. As a piece of classic literature that has already proven itself to stand time’s cruel test, “Atlas Shrugged” deserved a far better movie than it got. The reasons are simple, and I doubt anyone would grandly fault the filmmakers in any real way. It would be like hating Babe Ruth for not being able to hit a bullet with his baseball bat. You hate that he missed, but you tilt your head and accept that everyone else would have missed too. Or, at least, almost everyone else would have. However, since the biggest problem with the adaptation was buried in the structure of the movie, there’s one thing that would have made Atlas Shrugged: Part I a far, far better film. Ready for it? […]

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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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Atlas Shrugged Part I is a movie brimming with so much frustration that you almost expect the screen it’s playing on to have an aneurysm. It’s an honest attempt at adapting difficult (frankly, non-cinematic) material, and it fails spectacularly on almost every level. Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) is the brains behind a legacy railroading corporation that faces the internal dim-wittedness of its President, James Taggart (Matthew Marsden) and the external hell of a government bent on regulating businesses into non-existence. It’s a Dystopian 2016, but Taggart is on the verge of a sexy and profitable partnership with steel head Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler). He provides an incredible new metal product for her to reform her lines in Colorado, and the day might be saved. But with the government actively trying to redistribute the wealth, will success even matter?

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The Reject Report

Imagine a quiet, two-story house on a dark small-town street. Inside, a group of teens prepare to watch a movie, something scary, something hi-def. They have wealthy parents. As they drink their respective beverages and the FBI warning sits on the screen unobserved, the phone rings. One of the teens answers. On the other end, a high shriek emits, a shriek the other teens hear coming from outside. They go to the window to look, and flying through the air, headed straight for them, is a tropical bird. It has recently been launched from a giant slingshot jutting up out of the front yard. The bird’s target has been set. The teenagers are unsuspecting. Some of them might die this night. They scream, and thus begins this week’s Reject Report, Rio vs. Scream 4.

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Who is John Galt, and does anyone care? For all I know, “meh” is not actually a word, but somehow it perfectly describes the new Atlas Shrugged trailer. This movie has been through true development hell – detailing every incarnation would be a long, strange trip, but for some reason, no one’s ever pulled the trigger on it until now. Its 40 year ride through development, through Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe, through Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron, has deposited it here – without any big stars and split up into three films. It sees an appropriate release on April 15th, 2011, and you can check out the trailer for yourself:

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For the 34th time, Aglialoro is swearing that Atlas Shrugged will happen, but is it an artistic need or a simple political statement for the times?

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It’s time to pretend that you read one of the books on your Required Reading list from freshman year so you can have an opinion on whether Atlas Shrugged would make it as a film.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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