Black and White

Seth Rogen in Superbad

Way back in the dark ages of 2012, Paramount snatched up a little untitled comedy pitch from a guy named Rodney Rothman. A little comedy pitch … with Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart attached to star and Rogen and Evan Goldberg attached to produced. So, more like a really, really huge pitch, I guess. Oh, also Rothman did a bunch of work on Undeclared and executive produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is probably worth something. Well, the dark ages are over, and now word has gotten out about this untitled pitch (now a mostly-titled screenplay), from the guy who’s planning on directing it: Nicholas Stoller. Him, you might remember from the time he directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and The Five-Year Engagement, as well as from when he shared writing duties on the last two Muppets movies. Also, his Neighbors is poised to hit in a big way this summer –so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. Now Stoller is taking to the streets (the streets of the Internet, anyway) to pump up this film that he might be directing but hasn’t yet signed on to. First, he went to Slashfilm, where he reaffirmed what the movie was about: the first (fictional) time a black and white cop were partnered up. And he mentioned that this new picture’s got marijuana and hip jazz music and that he really, really wants to direct it. Also, he mentioned that it’s “kind of a Baz Luhrman world mixed with Tarantino […]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? More than just a compilation of movie scenes and a narrator who’s seen better, whiskey-filled days, this intriguing film noir from Fabrice Mathieu is a conceptual curiosity. It abstractly tells the story from the perspective of a Shadow who has decided to get rid of its “Wearer” – the meat doll it’s attached to – and Mathieu uses shots of shadows from other films to get the job done. At once, it functions as its own dark animal and as a movie fan’s slideshow through great works. The copyright infringement necessary is…undoubted…but the final product is something mysteriously engaging. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Lawrie Brewster’s style is difficult to describe. It’s homegrown CGI mixed with animation and live-action that’s been tossed in a blender set to homage. We previously experienced the bizarre world of Turnip Head, but this short is a new breed with similar sheep’s clothing. It’s a salute to Abel Grance’s 1927 war epic Napoleon by way of Guy Maddin. It’s also a jarring, pristine experience. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is not only a throw back to the days before people spoke in films; it almost makes you wonder why we ever added sound in the first place. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo shine as the film’s two leads able to say more with a look or a soft shoe than most of us can in 140 characters. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, The Artist takes us back to a time when men wore suits, women wore hats and a simple dance could lead to love. The movie tells the story of silent film star George Valentin (Dujardin) and how his world and career are threatened when sound and talking are introduced into art form. At the same time, aspiring actress Peppy Miller (Bejo) finds herself the sudden face of this new style of filmmaking with her star rising as George’s falls. After a chance encounter at one of George’s film premieres, Peppy wins a role as an extra on his next film (much to George’s surprise and delight). It is clear Peppy is a natural star from the start with a contagious personality and bright eyes that play right to the camera. Audiences quickly fall in love with the new starlet, and they are clearly not the only ones.

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By all accounts, a movie dealing with assisted suicide has no business being as funny as Kill Me Please. Somehow, director Olias Barco has crafted a side-splitting exploration of people wanting to end their own life. Black and white, Belgian, and yet it defies all expectations to be instantly accessible and shockingly hilarious. At a large facility in the forest, Doctor Krueger (Aurélien Recoing) helps people at the end of their rope. His main goal is to stop them from drinking the poison he applies with dignity, but he isn’t always successful. As a new group of paying customers moves into the building, and the nearby townsfolk plan to carry torches against the place, the good doctor struggles to keep the people who want to die from being killed.

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Why Watch? Charlie Chaplin‘s first film, Making a Living, features the man who would go on to be the planet’s biggest star donning a top hat and the creepiest face he could muster. It’s the earliest example of his potential for genius, and one of the few where we get to see a talent that’s still in the raw. By his next film, Kid Auto Races at Venice, he had debuted his Little Tramp character and launched a career in earnest. So, what better way is there to spend Labor Day than to watch how Chaplin worked? What does it cost? Just 9 minutes of your time. Check out Making a Living for yourself:

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Director Michel Hazanavicius’s newest film The Artist made a big splash at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Not only did it walk away with some decent praise from critics to plaster on its ads, it also earned the film’s star Jean Dujardin the Cannes award for Best Actor. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And also nothing to sneeze at is the visual ecstasy that is the new US trailer for this French film. The Artist is shot in black and white, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The story takes place in late 20s Hollywood, and it tells the tale of a romance between a big star who is entering the twilight of his career and a bright young starlet who is just coming into the prime of hers, as the movie industry in general transitions from silent films to talkies. Not only is it set in old Hollywood, it’s made like a film would have been in old Hollywood, complete with no sound and including all of the old school, broad stage acting that one would have expected from silent films of the time. So why it would need a trailer specifically for the US is beyond me, but let’s continue.

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Although certain politicians and even scientists will suggest otherwise, most agree our basic human desire for sex remains pretty unchanged. Over the centuries we’ve acknowledged that ladies like it just as much as the men folk, both sexes can be completely uninterested, and there’s also the possibility that same sex lovers getting down and dirty isn’t, in fact, dirty. Every new generation accepts something as tame that the previous generation thinks taboo. My mother finds the practice of bondage troubling, but the idea is ordinary to me. Whereas I don’t quite understand her fascination with the word “slutpuppy” because that’s just ooky. I’m not saying one generation is better than the other, I’m more curious about how we got to the place we are. I am pretty in tune with the going-ons of Gwen, so I have no problem pinpointing a lot of my sexual identity development happening simultaneously with the films and TV that I watched in the 90s. Thinking back, the 90s stand out to me as a hodgepodge decade when it came to sex in film. We had the renewal of romantic melodramas as a reaction to the social commentary-filled erotic thrillers of the 80s, the depiction of realistic sex in comedies, and the rise in popularity of rape culture. Of course all these themes wouldn’t have been possible without the decades before them, but something happened in the 90s that made sex seem pleasurable through love, humor, and invasion.

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I met Death today. We are playing chess. Antonius Block returns from the Crusades and jumps out of the fighting and into the black plague as the flesh-rotting disease hitches a ride all over the beautiful Swedish countryside. On a rocky beach looking out over the water, a cloaked man approaches, introduces himself as Death, and Block challenges him to a game of chess on the condition that a victory will secure his life.

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Happy Birthday Kurosawa! Happy Birthday Toshiro Mifune! Their birthdays are a week apart, so we’ve decided to celebrate by remembering the time that Kurosawa shot real arrows at his favorite lead actor. Oh, those lovable scamps!

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Every Sunday, Film School Rejects presents a film that was made before you were born and tells you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies presents Pickpocket.

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