Bellflower

Hot Rod

Netflix just doesn’t slow down its new streaming releases, with a huge crop recently being added on the first of the month and more noteworthy titles appearing on regularly. The great variety in titles can be easily seen by taking a look a rich, slow Western-horror, an absurd comedy, a dude punching wolves in the face, a prescient media classic and .

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Last’s year most buzzed about indie flick, Bellflower, introduced us to a whole new cadre of up-and-coming talent, including writer and director Evan Glodell and his co-stars Tyler Dawson and Jessie Wiseman, but there was another essential driving force behind the production – producer Vincent Grashaw. If you’re familiar with Bellflower, you’re likely also familiar with the hands-on nature of the production, one that entailed that just about everyone involved had to do more than just their standard job description. Grashaw was one of those people, and he and Glodell were even nominated for a John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards in reflection of that. Like Glodell, Grashaw has done a number of different projects in front of and behind the camera – from acting to directing to writing, even editing – and he’s now lined up to make his feature directorial debut with Coldwater. According to Variety, Grashaw has also written the film’s script with Mark Penney, one that centers on “the stark realities behind juvenile rehabilitation in the U.S.” and that “follows a teenage boy’s struggle inside a wilderness boot camp, where a retired war colonel and his counselors break inmates’ spirits to correct delinquent behavior.” 

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Reel Sex

People were up in arms Tuesday after the announcement of nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. So many seem to forget that every year they are disappointed with the nominees and every year there is some film or performer who was left off or included on the prestigious list. I may have spent the final weeks of 2011 lamenting my utter ennui with last year’s films, but I never in a million years expected some of the Oscar outcomes. No Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks, whose performance in Drive unnerved audiences to the core? Or the blatant disregard for solid documentary filmmaking in The Interrupters, Buck, or Project Nim, three entries into filmmaking that will forever impact the way we view the world around us? No, the Academy seemed to forget the impressive and daring offerings in favor of an adorable dog in a silent film. What is this, 1920? Last I checked The Jazz Singer pushed us into the land of the talkies. I could spend all day gnawing my tongue over which films shouldn’t have been included in this year’s awards recognition, but just like arguing the virtues and evils of the MPAA, our time is better used talking about some of the sexy pieces of work that the Academy felt were too provocative to include (for reasons I have completely made up in my mind. Hey, they have their prerogative, I have mine.). Going along with the Academy’s new voodoo math rules of deciding the […]

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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 started out as a list of overrated movies, but we (“we” being Rob Hunter and Kevin Carr, rabblerousers) decided fairly quickly that “overrated” is an overused and abused term. Who are we, or anyone, to tell you that you like a movie too much? It’s a rude thing to say regardless of whether or not we’re right. But thanks to the internet sometimes one person’s exuberance can find a virtual megaphone in all the tubes and anonymous users online, and that misguided praise can become deafening. And yes, we’re just as guilty as the rest of you…especially in regard to our first pick below. To be clear, most of these are not bad movies. The majority of them are actually good. But none of them deserved the near-constant accolades that seemed to echo from one corner of the web to another ad nauseum. So without further ado, pomp, or circumstance, here are 11 12 movies (in alphabetical order) you people wouldn’t shut up about in 2011. (**Note, there may be a few minor spoilers below.**)

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Reel Sex

If we assume the past twelve months in film reflect the time we’re living in now, then it would be easy to claim the year has been all about kinky sex and full-bodied sadness. Now, before you start preparing your arguments against my simple summation, let me clarify what I mean. On the surface the great films garnering attention (that masterpiece Jack and Jill aside) right now are in our consciousness more for the depiction of pretty people having crazy sex, rather than how the films are trying to expose the troubling nature and consequences of sex. Yes, we all know sex has consequences outside of disease and pregnancy, but the shear amount of filmmakers willing to show more than the grey, Hollywood sexual consequences (the above, plus violent Law and Order: SVU style stranger-rape) has been substantially small until this past year.

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Remember all the way back to last night when the Gothams announced their annual awards and thus declared that awards season was like, so totally on? No? Really? It was just last night, come on. In that vein, the Film Independent Spirit Awards have just announced their nominations for their annual awards (held in February, on the beach, as ya do in Los Angeles), and their picks come with their own surprises. Remember (no, seriously, I need you to remember back less than twenty-four hours) how the Gothams didn’t give squat to Take Shelter or 50/50 or Martha Marcy May Marlene? Or Drive? Or The Descendants? Well, the Independent Spirit nominations are here to ease that pain. Leading the nominations pack are just those very films, along with Gotham darling Beginners and black and white sensation The Artist, with Take Shelter and The Artist tied for the most nominations, with five each. Following the lead, with four nominations each are Beginners, Drive, The Descendants, and Martha Marcy May Marlene, with 50/50 logging three noms. And, coincidentally, it’s those top nomination-getters (save MMMM) that are all nominated for Best Feature. Funny how that works out, right? Other nominations of note include Best First Feature (Another Earth, In the Family, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Natural Selection ), Best First Screenplay (Another Earth, Margin Call, Terri, Cedar Rapids, 50/50), and the John Cassavetes Award, which is given to the best feature made for under $500,000 (Bellflower, Circumstance, Hello Lonesome, Pariah, The […]

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Bullhead is a Foreign Oscar Finalist

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that is currently incensed with its own author, as it has determined that he is a giant wuss. Seriously? You almost let a little stomach bug get in the way of doing the news?! Pansy. Now, on with the good stuff. The shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Oscar has been released. Among the contenders listed in notes from Jeff Wells is Bullhead, a recent pickup of Drafthouse Films and standout film of this year’s Fantastic Fest line-up. Our own Luke Mullen called it “damn near a masterpiece.” That’s high praise, if I’ve ever seen it.

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This Week in DVD

Everything old is new again as two of the week’s best DVD releases are for films that are decades old including Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 redo of Fritz Lang’s classic Metropolis with music by Freddy Mercury, Loverboy and other 80s superstars. But don’t fret, there are also some solid new films to check out this week including Bellflower, Griff the Invisible, The Warring States and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Three Colors: Blue White Red (Criterion) Krzysztof Kieslowski’s thematic trilogy looks at France’s motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Blue stars Juliette Binoche as a woman who suffers a terrible loss and attempts to free herself from life and its responsibilities with a kind of slow-motion suicide, but she instead finds true freedom through healing. Red features Irene Jacob as a young woman whose solitude is slowly shattered by unexpected friendships. And I have no clue what White is about. I haven’t even seen Criterion’s new set yet, but even a Criterion release of just Blue and Red would warrant an automatic purchase.

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Early this morning in a quest to be productive, I took to picking through a stack of upcoming Blu-rays in search of something to review. As it happens, I recently received a copy of the Oscilloscope Labs release Bellflower, a film I enjoyed thoroughly when it came to Austin for SXSW. So I opened it up to throw it in. And as I breached the always interesting, recycled paper packaging, something slipped out. A slip of paper that read “Enter the Circle of Trust.” It was a promotion from O-Scope that allows fans to “subscribe” to their upcoming releases (for a fee) and place trust in their studio. And it got me thinking…

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The Reject Report

Can you even imagine? A world overrun by Reject Reports? It’s like there’d be no movies, but we’d still report the weekend box office. While I stew over the quandary that’s just created, the world outside is still running smoothly. Blockbuster movies are still hitting. Small indie flicks are dividing audiences around certain parts of the country. Transformers are raking in a billion dollars. But this week, like it or not, belongs to the apes. Not Nim. I looked into it, and he’s safe, but the other ones are about to rise up and start fight back. Let’s see just how well those apes can handle themselves against the collective force of Smurfs, Captain America, and Jason Bateman.

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Let’s face it. If you need to threaten an enemy from a middle range distance, clear a ton of jungle in a hurry or carmelize the top of a crème brûlée, there’s nothing better for the job than a flamethrower. It’s a gun that throws fire. As your head wraps around that awesome concept (just as it does on a daily basis when you daydream about owning one), consider this beautiful instrument of destruction’s place in film. Sure, Bellflower comes out this week (and should energize you to convert daydreaming into action), but there’s a storied history here to uncover, and a future that’s assured to be bright enough to demand protective gear. Here are just a handful of movies that put the flamethrower on the burnt pedestal it deserves to sit upon.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we spend some time outside the studio system with Bellflower writer/director/star Evan Glodell who talks about love and flamethrowers. Plus, we have a long-form conversation about film production with Greatest Movie Ever Sold producer Keith Calder and indie horror writer/producer Simon Barrett. Double plus, our very own Jack Giroux goes head to head with The Film Stage’s Jordan Raup in a Movie News Pop Quiz that leaves everything else in the dust. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Every year, there are a few movies that hit festivals hard and come out on the other side being talked about like legends. They’re hyped, loved up, and the general public may never get to see them. One of those films this year is, without a doubt, Attack the Block. The other, is Bellflower. The trailer for the film is a bit discombobulated, trying to merge sweetness with insanity, but it looks undeniably unique. Names like Fight Club, John Hughes, and Mad Max are evoked between images of a fire-breathing muscle car and the cuteness of a new couple playing verbal footsie. Those comparisons will be a lot to live up to, but if festival goers and critics can be trusted, Bellflower rises to the occasion.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with sex symbol and film legend Angie Dickinson, discuss the parasitic relationship between studios and theaters, talk Bellflower‘s marketing strategy, and play a game we’re calling “Co-Directors.” Former assistant theater manager, massive film fan, and creative director at Rock Sauce Studios John Gholson explains how studios and theaters work together. He also makes a sex comedy featuring Andy Griffith seem just as enticing as it is in real life. Angie Dickinson has starred in over 50 films, played iconic roles from Rio Bravo to Ocean’s Eleven, and she was kind enough to spend some time talking to us about working with Sam Fuller and Frank Sinatra, creating her characters, and how movie-making has changed. FSR’s own Culture Warrior (and one of the Talking Heads) Landon Palmer braves a segment where we come up with directors we’d like to see work together, pitch a project for them, and figure out if it has a chance of getting made. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Murder sounds like it could be a massive hit. Plus, our very own Jeremy Kirk matches movie news wits with Peter Hall from Hollywood.com. Who will triumph at the sound of the correct answer bell and who will be forced to narfle the garthok? Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news that wasn’t big enough to get quality real estate on the home page. Or the stuff that everyone else missed. But you won’t miss it! Because it’s all right here! “I think he has a script ready to start of a new film, a Southern. I think it’s really exciting. It’s another new story and a fresh piece of material that he is channeling at the moment.” That’s Uma Thurman, talking about Quentin Tarantino’s next film.

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How would you prepare for the end of the world? Or, better yet…how would you prepare for the post-apocalypse? The day when the world is dust, the population is ravished, the landscapes are deserts, and the road is everywhere and everything. Basically, the world is Australia. How would you prepare? How could you?

You can cower in a corner at the thought, or you can be like Woodrow and Aiden and devote your adult life to building flamethrowers and finding ways to inject your muscle car with steroids so that you can rule the land, run the gamut, and in the meantime while you wait for the end of the world you can ride around in a vehicle built for pure testosterone and testicles.

Problems arise, though, when Woodrow and Aiden’s plans for building their car of destruction are interrupted by Woodrow’s encounter leading to relationship with Milly. The relationship itself doesn’t supply the complications so much as the complications that develop within the romance causing a drastic change in character for the unassuming nice guy Woodrow. Infidelity leads to depression, depression leads to anger, anger leads to places people shouldn’t go and all of a sudden the vehicle built to represent them in a future apocalypse becomes a symbol of Woodrow’s progression/regression from sensitive to pained callousness.

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South By Southwest has already begun heating up, but there are still plenty of movies and buckets of Schlitz to go. If you’re in Austin right now, you’re probably puzzling day to day over what you’re going to see. If you’re not in Austin, you’re probably still wondering what might escape the confines of the festival to see theaters near you. Although there’s no guarantee (except for a few big names we already know will see theaters), here are the hot tickets that might just earn themselves distribution deals. Our intrepid SXSW patrol (comprised of Adam Charles, Jack Giroux, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Luke Mullen and Brian Salisbury) have put together a list of what they’re most looking forward to for your reading and viewing pleasure. Keep in mind, there are over 250 movies playing this year, so this represents only a small amount of the quality programming. These are the movies that stand out even amongst the best of the best at the fest. Check it out for yourself:

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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