Blue Valentine

My Sharona Scene in Reality Bites

Thirty years ago, Ren McCormack fought for his right in Footloose. “This is our time to dance,” he argued. “It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.” As Kevin Bacon put on his old sweats and threw an old cassette on the stereo for Jimmy Fallon last week, we were reminded in the resonating power of dance scenes… Only, we often remember the most polished dance sequences and forget that “from the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons.” Though lists like to remind us over and over of the usual suspects – the films boasting carefully rehearsed choreography ((500) Days of Summer), musical numbers (Singin’ in the Rain), practiced moves (Dirty Dancing), and audacious comedy (Little Miss Sunshine) – there are many memorable dance sequences that break the barriers. Most are raw and unpolished as they push dance out of its narrowly choreographed confines and use it as a method of exploring everything from idiosyncratic inner tension to the charm of goofy exuberance – and they are a pleasure to behold.

read more...

Boiling Point

Much of the on-line film community has a fairly strong anti-MPAA lean to it. Hell, we here at FSR even pushed to have the “governing” body disbanded seeing as how they serve no real purpose. Unfortunately they still exist, and while they’re not in the news today every so often they make a splash by screwing over a film with an unnecessarily restrictive rating. It may be a film like Bully, initially Rated-R for language when its intended audience were those under the age of 17, and that should be a PG-13 flick (it eventually was after toning down the language). Or it can be something very assuredly more adult getting really boned. Blue Valentine was initially smacked with the kiss of death, an NC-17 rating, because of an act of cunnilingus. Sex is a killer at the ratings. Violence can bring you an NC-17 rating as well with films like Killer Joe and A Serbian Film getting the dreaded rating. In 2010, at least four films were initially rated NC-17 and forced to be re-cut, with two more crippled in 2011. Thus far in 2012 no film has been effectively banned from theaters due to the rating, but I’m still pissed about it anyways. The rating itself is unnecessary and actually redundant, but beyond that, the rating is offensive.

read more...

Culture Warrior

A few weeks ago, as the indie group Here We Go Magic traveled through Ohio, they encountered a tall, skinny hitchhiker who they quickly recognized to be the inimitable filmmaker/public personality/pencil-thin mustache enthusiast John Waters. The band members took pictures of themselves with Waters and sent them out to the twittersphere. John Waters’s presence in their van did not transform into a difficult-to-believe apocryphal story between friends over drinks, nor did it grow into the stuff of urban legend, but instead became a certified true web event simultaneous to the band’s immediate experience of it. For any fan of the ever-captivating and unique Waters, this unlikely scenario which was still somehow consistent with Waters’s personality was truly bizarre, interesting, funny, and perhaps even enviable. But Mr. Waters’s is simply the most recent in a string of out-of-the-ordinary celebrity encounters. Celebrity has changed greatly over the past few decades. Whereas stars of film, television, and popular music formerly dominated the imaginations of their public through their creative output and carefully orchestrated public personae (through interviews, red carpet appearances, etc.), today’s celebrities are characterized more by their public personae than any output to warrant it. The Kardashians, the Hiltons, and the VH1 reality stars of the world are simply famous for being famous (or, more accurately, for being born into incredible wealth). There is no longer a sense that one earns fame through creating something or contributing to culture.

read more...

The 2011 Gift Guide: Music for Movie Lovers

Welcome to The Holiday Gift Guide, our yearly stroll through all the things you absolutely should have on your Christmas list this year. To begin, we encourage you to strap on your little, tiny headphones, and get ready for more giving suggestions from your favorite Rejects. Do you have a friend or family member on your Christmas list that always has their fingers on the pulse of the music scene, making buying them anything music-related nearly impossible? Have no fear – I turned to the silver screen to find music they may not have heard from movies they might also enjoy. And, as has been the trend lately with popular artists starting to compose for film, I rounded up some current composers and the bands you may not know they started out in. Plus a few artists you may not know who have begun composing for films. This list features movies that came out this year with kick-ass soundtracks as well as albums from artists-turned-composers. If you have someone in your life that is a music lover and into movies, then this is the list for you. And if you are that person, this list may give you some ideas of what to include on your own wish list. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, but merely suggestions to help inspire ideas and give you a jumping off point. And if there is a great suggestion I overlooked, feel free to sound off in the comments and let our […]

read more...

Last year, director Derek Cianfrance got a lot of acclaim for his relationship on the rocks drama Blue Valentine, which starred Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple whose union was in the process of dissolving. It makes sense then that he is re-teaming with Gosling for his next project, The Place Behind the Pines. And now Variety is reporting that Bradley Cooper, fresh off of generating $143 million worldwide in a starring role in Limitless and quite a bit more than that for reprising his role as Phil in The Hangover Part II, is joining the cast as well. That’s not a bad deal, one actor that you have a proven track record with and another who is the newly crowned King of Hollywood. The Place Behind the Pines is about a professional motorcycle rider who turns to bank robbery when he needs to begin supporting a newborn son, and the rookie cop who his newfound career choice sees him running afoul of. Cooper will play the cop and Gosling the robber respectively. When talking to Speakeasy late last year Cianfrance said of the project, “We should be shooting in the summer. We just have to flesh out the rest of our financing and finish casting it, but a lot of that movie was inspired by Jack London books and this idea of ancestry – and again, it’s all in Blue Valentine – what gets passed on down through the generations?” He then went further comparing and […]

read more...

This Week in Blu-ray

It’s been a long time since the world has held gaze upon This Week in Blu-ray, that much is true. But it’s back for a Saturday run in a big way — tons of Blu-rays, many of which are worth a rent or better, and a guest appearance by Rob Hunter. Since we’ve been away for the last two weeks, I’m including a few of the notable releases from both weeks. So prepare yourself (and your wallet) for an onslaught of awesome. Get through it this week, as next week appears to be just as good. And that’s where we’ll meet again, but on Tuesday this time. I Saw the Devil A South Korean government agent (Lee Byung-hun) is devastated when his fiance is murdered and dismembered by a madman (Choi Min-sik), but after a brief mourning period he sets out for a twisted and very unorthodox revenge. As in he catches the killer, hurts him severely, then lets him go… only to repeat the cycle over and over again. It’s a brutal game that sees the supposed hero bypass catharsis in favor of the dangerously unthinkable. Director Kim Jee-woon’s latest is easily the darkest, saddest, and most violent of his career but still every bit as fantastic as The Good the Bad the Weird and A Tale Of Two Sisters. Scenes of heart-pumping thrills exist side by side with stretches of excruciating dread. Magnet’s Blu-ray offers a crisp and beautiful transfer as well as an audio track that does […]

read more...

This Week in DVD

This week doesn’t feature much in the way of high profile releases, but there are two genre titles hitting shelves that are worth a blind buy for fans of quality international cinema. And violence. Lots and lots of fantastically gruesome and bloody violence. One’s even in English for those of you unwilling (or unable) to read. I Saw the Devil and Black Death may be the best titles hitting shelves today, but they’re not alone. Other new releases include Blue Valentine, No Strings Attached, Dahmer vs Gacy, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Black Death The black plague works its way across Europe, but when word comes of a village that has rescinded God’s favors and is free of death the bishop sends his best men to bring back the lead heretic for punishment. Sean Bean heads up the mission and recruits a young monk to help guide their way, and the group is soon waist-deep in mystery, madness, and dead bodies. Director Christopher Smith has delivered a dark exploration of faith, both what it means to retain it as well as what it takes to let it go. The action is a well-choreographed mix of metal on metal when it’s not slicing its way through flesh, and the ending packs a solid punch as well.

read more...

The last few weeks have been emotionally exhausting and utterly surreal for me, and visiting with some of my favorite movies for advice has been a big help in moving forward. Of course this isn’t the same as talking with a good friend or crying into a whole box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins (with sprinkles!), but sometimes the stories unfolding on screen just make you feel better in a way talking and eating just can’t. All my time watching movies has taught me if a heartbroken soul can get through it, head held high and sane, so can I. But where do we draw the line between real and too real when it comes to romance and sex in film? Sex complicates, but does it also have to destroy the lives involved? In Cruel Intentions, sex is used as a key element in an emotionally manipulative game between Kathryn and Sebastian, whereas in Y Tu Mama Tambien sex leaves best friends confused about their future, and in Blue Valentine sex brings upon the end of a relationship representing so many couples before and after. In each of these films, the act itself is both poignant and flawed, and no one walks away uninjured.

read more...

SXSW 2011 may be coming to a close, but we’ll be sharing more interviews and reviews as the week rolls on. All of which will have barbecue stains. It’s a big night tonight. Neil is standing in line for Hobo With a Shotgun, cleverly putting his hat out and asking for money to buy a lawnmower. Rob has been lured into a vegan screening of a low-budget Asian pink film. Brian is wandering around town trying to figure out just how much he loved Attack the Block. Luke and Adam are luring people into Asian pink film screenings, and Jack hasn’t been seen since last Thursday. We’ll be earning a few awards for our coverage, no doubt, but SXSW has crowned a few winners this evening – the most awarded being the Rachel Harris comedy Natural Selection. You thought for a second they were posthumously celebrating Charles Darwin, didn’t you? Congratulations to all the winners, and to all the films at SXSW. Here are the winners as listed in the official press release:

read more...

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.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Modern romance and the movies are arguably dependant on one another, as movies have a long history of affirming the idea(l) of the perfect relationship. Hollywood movies in particular have developed a mastery at the formula of bringing imperfect individuals together into perfect couplehood and framing marriage as the closure of all previous conflicts and difficulties. Many romance movies, thus, teach us what romance and couplehood are or, perhaps more dauntingly, what it should be. That romantic films are a staple in the box offices of commercial movie theaters to reparatory screenings or are marathon’d on television every Valentine’s Day is evidence of our ritual association of considering real-life romances in fictional terms. It is rare that movies, especially Hollywood, seem to do the opposite: reflect the distinction between ideal romance and the ostensible “reality” of relationships in all their complexity, grittiness, slow development, necessary problems, and (most of all) subtlety. Perhaps the most evident turns cinema makes in this direction is in the break-up movie, that rare narrative that situates itself as a disruption from the normal mode of portraying couplehood through representing its antithesis, the dissolution of a couple. The most recent example is Blue Valentine, the great Cassavetes-style, character-driven psychodrama about a couple who continue making the wrong turns and can’t make it work despite, or because, of themselves. Breakup movies from the light – (500) Days of Summer – to the heavy – Blue Valentine – often self-consciously (either by testament from the filmmaker like in […]

read more...

‪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?

read more...

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:

read more...

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.

read more...

Culture Warrior

A few months back, a fight for free expression was exercised by the Weinstein Company for the Sundance-indie favorite Blue Valentine to be theatrically released with an R-rating instead of the dreaded NC-17. Many things about this pseudo-fight are nothing special: there’s hardly anything surprising about fights with the MPAA or about the Weinsteins making a fuss – it’s how they’ve succeeded in the business for decades. But this fuss, and the anti-MPAA lobbying contained within it, seemed significantly more justified because it was exercised in the name of potentially getting an exceptional indie into more theaters across the country (and while the film does star two recognizable names, it is, economically speaking, very much a truly modest indie of the classic Sundance variety). In the end, the Weinsteins got their way, and justifiably so. The NC-17 rating has become an economic form of censorship: nothing associated with the label, or the institution that bestows that label, has the power to actively stop distribution of NC-17 films, but because of the rating’s associations with sexually-explicit content, and because of the liability and extra measures required of theaters in preventing young people from sneaking their way into such films, many theaters (and some entire theater chains) will not exhibit films with such a rating. This would have relegated Blue Valentine, at best, to arthouse theaters in big cities. Such theaters are no doubt where Blue Valentine will play best regardless, but the key word here is opportunity – an R-rating provides […]

read more...

Someone should sit down all the Nora Ephrons of the world to watch director Derek Cianfrance‘s Blue Valentine, preferably Clockwork Orange-style. The Ephrons in the film universe are like little girls who play with ponies and dream of beach-side weddings, living in a picketed and beautiful suburban house and having everything be absolutely perfect. The greatest conflicts in their films are the tragedies of a broken nail or whether or not the wedding dress will make the bride look slim. Those films are mannequins; they’re artificial on the outside and hollow on the inside. Cianfrance despises those films, or at least that’s the impression I got while talking to the honest man. Honesty is what he seems to care most about, including the harsher truths of life and love that we don’t see too often represented accurately on the big screen. This isn’t a film that felt like it was written by some teenage girl who just found out what love is from another Katherine Heigl rom-com, but instead made by someone tired of artificial love stories. Where’s the imperfection? Where are the dark times? That’s what Cianfrance is interested in: no fantasy.

read more...

A swift kick in the pants is all you need to get your midnight juices flowing, that’s an ideal that I’ve always held to be true. If you don’t have anyone to kick you, you can always simply read Movie News After Dark. It will either get you pumped up and ready for that late-night fast food run or put you to sleep, or both simultaneously. How did he do it, you may wonder after wrapping your car around a telephone poll while stuffing your face with an extra large gordita. Run for the border my friends, it’s time for movie news…

read more...

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.

read more...

One of my favorite non-starters for articles is the very bland “as you may know.” There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve seen me use it in the past (I’m doing it again right now). So when I thought about how to begin this year’s top ten article, I wanted to begin by saying “as you may know, one of my great honors around here is to deliver my list of the ten best films of the year.” But you may not know how much of an honor that really is. In fact, it’s difficult for me to put into words how honored I feel to have anyone read this at all, let alone the scores of readers we see on a daily basis here at Film School Rejects. It’s safe to say that I speak for everyone here when I say that I am deeply honored by the opportunity just to write about film. You, the reader, offer that to us every day with your patronage. So my hope is that I can do you proud, dear reader, as I present my list of the ten best films of 2010. This year saw a great deal of personal turmoil for me, meaning some movie-watching blind spots. But some late-year scrambling has pushed my total films seen number well north of 200. And of those 200 or so eligible films, whittling it down to ten wasn’t quite as difficult as it’s been in recent years. Does that mean that […]

read more...

We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of November dumpster diving in studio lots, mailing in proof of purchase codes on cereal boxes, and building trailers from old plywood to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in December. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3