Black Swan

This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. As you may know, Robert Ebert is promising $100,000 to anyone who can predict every single Oscar win this year. Going 24 for 24 is an impressive feat, unless you have an ethically questionable friend that works at PricewaterhouseCoopers. But, if you have that, why would you be wasting your time on a measly $100,000? Exactly. I don’t have that friend, but I have a graphing calculator and a lot of free time, so I came up with the predictions that I’ll be submitting to Ebert’s contest. I’d better not get a subscription to Red Book or something  for sharing my email information with him. Check out who I think will win the awards on Sunday (written in bold), tell me why I’m dead wrong, and put your money where your mouth is by entering the contest yourself.

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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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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. Some of you might be confused as to what the Best Actress category is exactly. Don’t worry; it’s easy enough to explain. You see, Best Actress is just like the award for Best Actor, except it’s for people with lady parts only. Why there needs to be a gender distinction when it comes to giving out awards for acting performances is beyond me. Is there something inherent in one of the genders that would give them the edge when it comes to acting? Or maybe this is a relic of an older Hollywood where all of the really meaty roles were written for men and actresses didn’t have much more to do than be the object of affection? I think we’re past that point now. I would argue not just that female actors put out work equal to male actors in 2010, but also that they were on the whole given more interesting characters to play. I say that this is the year where we need to band together and call for the end of award discrimination. Who’s with me? Maybe you should look over the nominees first. They are as follows, with my winner prediction in red.

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The Reject Report

Good for Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, and all the other oddly named people involved in The Roommate. Not only did it come out #1 on this Super Bowl weekend, not only was it able to beat out the James Cameron-backed Sanctum, but it was the only film this weekend to even get into double digits. I’m not sure if that says a lot for The Roommate, the current slate of movies available for the masses, or the power of the Super Bowl draw away from the movie theaters. You can’t really put much of the blame for the weekend’s weak numbers. The past three years have had films open in the $20 or $30-million area. In 2009, Taken opened on Super Bowl weekend with $24.7 million, and that can’t even be considered counter-programming to the big game. Not like last year or 2007 when Dear John and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour opened to a $30.4 and $31.1 million, respectively. So the Super Bowl was a draw away from the movies.

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The Reject Report

A year ago last week, James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar beat out Titanic to be the highest domestic grossing film of all time. Cameron just happened to be the director on the monstrously successful Titanic, too. You all know this. What you might not have known is that Cameron is back, and this time, he’s going spelunking. Sanctum is sure to be Cameron’s next grand excursion into box office glory and could very well beat even Avatar’s record breaking numbers. What’s that? Cameron didn’t direct Sanctum? He just produced it? But the trailers…oh, never mind. Tank.

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The Reject Report

That wacky Anthony Hopkins sure knows how to turn ‘em in. With his broad hijinx and penchant for silly string gimmicks. The devil might have had something to do with it, too, as The Rite opened to number one this weekend. It’s opening wasn’t as big as you might expect, but it did a decent job. With a reported budget of $37 million, it should be fine with its mid-teen debut. That is unless you’re going by Kevin Smith math, in which case, the film is a serious dud. That’s a digression for another time, though. The Rite will do just fine, and Hopkins is sure to make many more stinkers films before his days in films have come to a close. His Hannibal days have long since passed, and you aren’t likely to see many more $100-million films from him beyond any franchise work.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Awards Season junkie and editor-in-chief of In Contention, Kris Tapley, joins us to shoot the bull on the Oscars. We’ll be roasting that bull on a spit and serving it for our live-blog next month. Could Natalie Portman lose her sure-thing Oscar? Why did Inception never have a chance at Best Picture? Who will win Best Costume Design?!? We ask the tough questions. And then answer them. Plus, we also review The Mechanic in case you’d rather see something blow up besides an actor giving a thank you speech. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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‪Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as ClairesKneeFan and THXForAllTheFish1138 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two finally manage to answer last week’s question while reveling in the continuation of Sundance and the totally old revolutionary model of distribution that Kevin Smith wants the world to take note of. But instead of wasting more internet words on Smith, the question is far simpler and far too high concept to attempt without some Sandlot references: Is the movie distribution system really broken?

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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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The Reject Report

Sometimes timing really is everything. Blue Monday (it’s a real date) came and went, and moviegoers were looking for something to make them laugh. Something that didn’t include Kato vision and Christoph Waltz shooting people in the face. Add into that the love Natalie Portman is raking in for her own downer performance in Black Swan, and you’ve got a formula for success in No Strings Attached. The romantic comedy was anything but a monster success. It claims the biggest opening for an Ivan Reitman film besides Ghostbusters II. It’s a long ways from being the biggest opening for either Portman or her co-star Ashton Kutcher. You do have to remember she was in the Star Wars prequels, each of which made more in their opening day than what No Strings Attached pulled in the last three days. Nonetheless, the R-rated rom-com succeeded in opening in the #1 slot and pulling in a bit more than what was expected. With a reported budget of only $25 million, the film is already well on its way to being a decent success. Because Kutcher needs more success in his life. Poor guy.

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The Reject Report

Yeah. Now get that song out of your head. Good luck with that. When you’re done, head on out to see a movie. There isn’t much new to partake in this weekend, but, if you’re a big fan of Natalie Portman, Bruce Willis’ son, or Olivia Thirlby (we can just assume on that last one), then you might want to check out the lone candidate for new releases. You enjoy the rest of the report. I’m gonna continue to sing Pinocchio songs to myself.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as NoWaveSurfer and KeatonRox2738 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the purported death of indie films that’s reported upon faithfully every year (at least 4 times a year). In the face of the Independent Film’s best friend festival beginning this weekend, we tackle the real question: Indie films can’t actually be dead, can they?

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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 shit late at night, what do you expect?

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I love the Golden Globes despite never wanting to watch them. They are irrelevant in a way that’s completely freeing – meaning that the host can get drunk, the honorees can get drunk, and a lot of yelling can take place during the celebration. I imagine it’s a lot like what the Oscars used to be before they were ever televised. Don’t get me wrong. For the winners, it’s an auspicious occasion. It’s one more group (a diverse one at that) honoring great work done. For movie fans though, the broadcast is pure spectacle, and as someone who has stood next to Foreign Press members asking about what type of underwear Daniel Radcliffe wears, it’s also difficult to take the night all that seriously. Here in the sober light of day, are the winners. Feel free to speculate as to what this means for the Oscars.

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Yeah. You read that right. It’s got sting. Like a bee. Like a bee that stings. And all the other movies just got stung. That’s right. The Green Hornet didn’t beat out Cloverfield’s record-setting opening for January, but it did succeed in having the biggest opening for any Seth Rogen film that isn’t animated. It also had a bigger opening this weekend than all of Michel Gondry’s other openings combined. I guess that says something. I can’t help but think The Green Hornet would have had an even bigger opening had it released in Summer where it truly belongs. It’s a fun, Summer, blockbuster that got unjustifiably dumped here in January. That knocked its opening numbers down by at least $10 million, a complete guesstimate on my part. It didn’t help that the film was being shot down by critics and moviegoers alike before anyone had even seen it. It’s hard to get past that type of prejudgment, and this opening isn’t necessarily a clear indicator of hit or bomb in any capacity.

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The Week That Was

It’s been another awesome week here at Film School Rejects. We launched several new columns, including our first action-centric weekly romp (Bullet Points), a feature focused on Cole Abaius and Landon Palmer’s IM conversations (Talking Heads) and our two new dailies (Vintage Trailer and News After Dark) are going strong. The hard work is happening, and hopefully you’ve noticed. If not, that’s okay. You will soon. For now, lets focus on the best articles of the week as we explore The Week That Was.

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The Reject Report

I know. I know. The Green Reject Report? That’s the best you can come up with? It’s not like it’s a title we might not use every again. When Green Zone hit last year, it opened against a few other notable titles that took the headline (This Week’s Reject Report Is Out Of My League). With Green Lantern hitting this coming June, another opportunity to use this week’s title might present itself. But we don’t think about the future. We cross those bridges when we come to them. So, while we’re eating our red meat and smoking our cigarettes, we’ll just do with The Green Reject Report for this week. Onto the movies.

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Black Swan Movie

Every time Nina Sayers gets near sex, something terrible happens. It is the focal point catalyst for almost every major event of Black Swan – where a character is forced to grow up in the most violent way possible. For a bulk of the film, this character – brought to life by Natalie Portman – is passive about the world around her. Nina’s mother has kept her in a state of arrested development, her boss relegates her to the background as he pleases, and even when she’s given a chance to shine, she is unable to do so because of the psychological barriers she faces. All of those barriers are brought down by sex. A few more are created because of it.

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This year, someone who has never won a DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement will win a DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. The filed includes three first-time nominees – Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan; Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech; and David O. Russell for The Fighter – as well as two returning nominees – David Fincher for The Social Network (who was previously nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and who has won several commercial directing awards from the DGA) and Christopher Nolan for Inception (who was previously nominated for The Dark Knight and Memento). None of these directors has won the award, which means the Director’s Guild of America’s pattern of celebrating new talent (even talent that’s been around a decade) will continue. In the past 25 years, the DGA has only had 4 repeat winners – Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Oliver Stone. With this list of nominees, it’s guaranteed that yet another new name will join their ranks.

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The Reject Report

No, this ain’t no coon hunt, but the Coens fought tooth and nail. Here in its third weekend of release, True Grit has taken the top spot from Little Fockers, and the Western has effortlessly become the Coen Brothers’ most successful film of all time.

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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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