Buster Keaton

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip

The best thing about the new comedy Neighbors (as opposed to the old comedies with the same name) is that it’s two movies in one. You’ve got your movie about adults dealing with growing older and having a baby and how the new frat house next door is challenging both their maturity and their patience, and then you’ve got your basic college comedy in which a hotshot frat boy is dealing with his brothers, particularly his best friend, maturing and moving on near the end of their senior year. The latter might seem more derivative, but as one part of the Neighbors whole it works really well. Of course, I still can’t help but focus on those predecessors. Fortunately most frat comedies are terrible and I won’t recommend them. But the obvious best has to be recognized, just in case there are youngsters going to see Seth Rogen and Zac Efron battle it out without having seen the necessary classics. As for the other storyline, it mostly just reminded me of the canceled NBC sitcom Up All Night. The following is a list of strictly movies that I thought of during Neighbors, some because of similar plot tropes and others because of talent involved. I think all of them are worth being familiar with if you’re going to now be familiar with this new movie. As usual, this week’s Movies to Watch list could involve spoilers for the new release, here Neighbors, so only venture forth if you’ve seen it or don’t care.

read more...

Sherlock Jr 1924

Many people watch movies as a form of escapism, and it makes sense that those people wouldn’t like movies that involve reflexive techniques that address this fantasy element. For at least 90 years, as of today’s anniversary of the release of Buster Keaton‘s Sherlock Jr., there has been a lot of evidence to indicate that such meta cinema is not popular with American audiences. At the start of 1924, Keaton was riding a wave of success following his two hits of the previous year, Three Ages and Our Hospitality. But Sherlock Jr. was his first real critical failure, and as a result it was also a box office disappointment (outside of Soviet Russia, that is). Not the flop that many have labeled it as — in fact its final gross was really close to that of Three Ages, and technically it made a bit of money — but in terms of Keaton’s trajectory until then, it was definitely a blow. The issue noted at the time was simply that viewers didn’t find it to be very funny. Humor can be either very dependent on an escapist mindset or the very opposite. Laughter is a diversion, much like fantasy, though it also often requires an understanding of what is actually going on. For instance, for slapstick and other comedy involving bodily harm, the awareness that the pain is fake makes it funny rather than tragic. For satire and spoof, the latter being part of the comedy of both Three Ages (which parodies D.W. Griffith’s […]

read more...

Jupiter Ascending

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

read more...

20131001134229-BK_-_color_mod_2

Buster Keaton appeared in some very weird movies following the advent of sound pictures. There’s that Mexican sci-fi comedy Boom in the Moon I mentioned on FSR a while back. There’s the Eastman Kodak industrial film The Triumph of Lester Snapwell, in which he plays a clumsy photographer who travels through time so he can experience an easy-use Instamatic camera. And of course all those crazy ’60s beach movies, where he performed silly slapstick involving bikinis, boobs and a politically incorrect portrayal of a Native American. But his oddest has to be Film, the 1965 short he reluctantly starred in, which was scripted by absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett (his only original written directly for the screen), helmed by theatre director Alan Schneider, produced by controversial publisher Barney Rosset, edited by Oscar-nominated documentarian Sidney Meyers (The Quiet One; The Savage Eye) and shot by legendary cinematographer Boris Kaufman (L’Atalante; On the Waterfront). Almost 50 years since its debut at the Venice Film Festival, Film is being restored by Milestone Films, the wonderful people who in recent years have resurfaced Killer of Sheep, Portrait of Jason, Word is Out and other classics in need. And its 2014 re-release will be in conjunction with a documentary feature/essay film (or “kino essay”) titled Notfilm, directed by archivist Ross Lipman. Tons of bonus footage, including deleted, alternate and “lost” scenes, has been found from the production, and we’ll get to see all that alongside interviews with Leonard Maltin, Kevin Brownlow and Haskell Wexler, among others (plus […]

read more...

mcqueen_western_deep_02_l

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Before he started making features, like his new release 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen was a celebrated visual artist known primarily for film installations. His “short start” was 20 years ago with a 10-minute work called Bear, in which he and another black man wrestled in the nude. After that, he made the shorts Five Easy Pieces (1995), Just Above My Head (1996), Exodus (1997) and Deadpan (1997), the last of which involved a recreation of Buster Keaton’s famous falling house facade stunt from Steamboat Bill Jr. You can see an excerpt of that film, with McQueen pulling off the dangerous bit himself, here. While many of his shorts can be seen in the occasional museum exhibit, most are otherwise pretty rare. Meaning not available to be viewed online. There are, however, a few instances of incomplete cellphone captures of his films from their installation projections. You can see parts of Girls, Tricky (2001), the 9/11-inspired Illuminer (2002) and Static (2009), which was made following his feature debut, Hunger. Others, including Charlotte (2004), featuring just an enlargement of Charlotte Rampling‘s eye, and Caribs’ Leap (2002), are only to be seen in stills. Interestingly, the latter is typically screened as a companion to the only film found in full on the web, Western Deep.

read more...

Danny Trejo Sherrybaby

Our official review of Machete Kills is pretty negative. Rightfully so, it’s a major disappointment following the purposefully cheesy yet still politically relevant first film. This time it’s all just silly, kind of like an Austin Powers movie for the Latino audience instead of 13-year-old boys — though the 13-year-old boys may still be the best audience for this. I want to recommend it solely for Demian Bichir, though, because he is a pleasure to watch every second he’s on screen. Maybe it’s just how great he is relative to the rest of the cast and movie, but I’d give him another Oscar nomination for this. If you think that’s ridiculous, you haven’t seen the movie (because that is ridiculous). If you don’t see Machete Kills, no big deal, even if you won’t know what’s going on when Machete Kills Again… In Space arrives. This week’s gateway recommendations have nothing related to any spoilers in the movie. Most are just better films starring parts of the sequel’s ensemble. I also almost thought about including Star Wars, not because I think any of you haven’t seen it but because I think you’d want to clean yourself in the form of a re-watch after seeing all the bad references here. Seriously, even if we’d never had 35 years of parodies, copycats, fan films and other works derived from and informed by Star Wars, the allusions here would still feel stale. The following ten selections are worth checking out whether you bother with Machete […]

read more...

Buster Keaton - The General

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they celebrate Buster Keaton as a superhero who is faster with his locomotive. In the #34 (tied) movie on the list, the union army steals a supply train with a damsel on board, and Johnnie Gray But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

read more...

trading places curtis new year

There are so many movies with New Year’s Eve scenes that we might be able to make a list of 2,013 of them. Especially if we separate each scene from movies completely set on the night, such as New Year’s Eve, 200 Cigarettes and the Assault on Precinct 13 remake. But we’re going to keep it simple and exclude 2000 of those to share only 13 favorite moments of movie characters ringing in the new year. None of them are from those three aforementioned films, by the way. And since we’ve obviously left a bunch of scenes out, at some point before you go out to party or get situated on your couch ready to watch the ball drop, do tell us which New Year’s Eve scenes you love. Oh, and merry new year!

read more...

Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

This week saw the countdown to the end of the Twilight movies, though we didn’t pay it much attention. Kevin gave us a drinking game to play while watching the whole series in marathon form, but that’s it. Maybe we were all too busy still appreciating the greatness of the latest James Bond — a series that fortunately didn’t conclude after only five installments — or skipping through to wonder about the future, as in whether The Mortal Instruments is the new Twi-like sensation. We did, of course, review the final Twilight Saga film, and we remind and invite you to check out that and other reviews of new releases (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2; Lincoln; Anna Karenina; Price Check) as well as an interview with Anna Karenina director Joe Wright. We also watched a lot of trailer, including new spots for The Host (from Twi-lit author Stephenie Meyer), Oz: The Great and Powerful, The ABCs of Death (Red Band) and, yeah, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. We also saw some short films that readers seem to have enjoyed a lot, including The Sleepover and Dragon Baby. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Editor’s Note: With Landon still celebrating Marcel Pagnol’s birthday, Cole was left to write this week’s entry. Please don’t riot. Every so often, The History Channel will play The Planet of the Apes, and it freaks me out. In recent years, the station has lost the meaning of its name completely, but a few years ago, I genuinely worried that someone would stumble upon the movie in progress, see the logo at the bottom, and be convinced that there was a time in Earth’s history that we were ruled by simians. There’s no proof, but considering that people have tried to rob banks with permanent marker all over their faces as a “disguise,” it seems possible that at least one person would be confused by a non-fiction station about our past playing a fictional movie where Moses pounded his fist into the sand in horror. Maybe there’s no real danger of that, but it still displays a certain power that movies have. They, like all stories, are how we share with each other. From person to person, from culture to culture, movies provide a certain shared sentience. A great story, told well, can transport and give insight into What It’s Like, especially in a world where photography and audio recording are relatively new technologies. The hitch is that there are still limitations to the art. The camera always lies, so even as we grasp toward understanding, it’s easy to be misled when it comes to experiences we have no personal […]

read more...

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.

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? As per usual, it’s a nightly movie news column that finds a way to get a little silly on Monday nights. It’s mostly weekend hangover related, but also a product of its own environment. On weekend, it plays a clown in a traveling circus. It lives a diverse life like that. We begin tonight with an image of the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. As you know, Halloween is coming up and we’re all looking for good costume ideas. Over at io9, the nerds from the future have it listed as one of their 20 zero-effort, high-concept Halloween costumes guaranteed to alienate your friends. For those of us who dislike both effort and friends.

read more...

This Week in DVD

Welcome to the day late edition of This Week In DVD! It’s late! I’d apologize, but I’m currently enjoying the wonders of Austin’s Fantastic Fest and have been deprived of sleep and nutritious foods for far too long. But still, better late than never. This week’s titles include Criterion’s release of Carlos, the African action pic Viva Riva, the laughably bad The Ledge, the hilarious Cartoon Network series Adventure Time, and more! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky Ricky is a young man with incredible martial arts skills. He’s fast and agile, but more importantly he can rip your innards from your body with deadly precision. This decades old Hong Kong flick is over the top ridiculous in the violence and gore on display and not coincidentally is awesome. There’s more bloodletting and gore than you’ll find in the average horror film. Disemboweling, eyeball violence, cuts, head smashing, and more fill the screen with a crimson colored glee. Sure it rarely looks exactly real, but goddamn is it entertaining. The film’s been around for some time, but if you don’t own a copy this latest reissue is the perfect time to fix that.

read more...

With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #78): “Once Upon a Time” (airdate 12/15/61) The Plot:  A cranky man of 1890 uses a time machine to head for 1962 to find out that things got a lot louder, faster, and more dangerous. The Goods: The absolute guts of this show continue to astound. Imagine if a modern seriesdecided to do half of an episode as a silent film. Black and white they already have, but it’s still a bold step. Rod Serling beamed an antique directly into the living rooms of his fans. That’s right. Not only is this a story where a man from the late 19th century hops into the middle of the 20th, it’s a time travel story for its audience by using modern television filming techniques alongside the earliest methods. And who do you get to guest star when half your episode is done as a silent film? Buster Keaton. Not a bad choice.

read more...

Why Watch? Because we all get mistaken for murderers from time to time. If you read Rob’s DVD column, you already know that there’s a new collection of Buster Keaton short films out on the market, and buried inside that treasure trove is the glistening jewel known as The Goat. While the quality is most likely better in the new collection than what we can find on the internet, it’s still worth a trip back to 1921 to check out a case of mistaken identity that sets Keaton on a crazed adventure. That adventure spotlights comedy so simple that it hits at a primal level and physical stunts that prove why Keaton is the best of his generation (sorry, Chaplin fanatics). Thrilling and funny, Keaton is close to the top of his game here, and his is a talent that truly can’t be replicated. Plus, this short has the iconic distinction of featuring a classic Keaton image: a train speeding toward the camera that stops close enough to show that Keaton has been riding the front of it the entire time. Insurance for a project like this must have been astronomical. What does it cost? Just 23 minutes of your time. Check out The Goat for yourself:

read more...

This Week in DVD

It’s my birthday this week, and it therefore seems only fitting that the BUY section is overflowing with fantastic and fun titles worth picking up and enjoying with your friends, families, and parole officers. They even represent a pretty good blend of genres with horror (Insidious, [Rec]2), animated kid fare (Rango), and some classics from the silent era (Buster Keaton). Other titles out this week include The Lincoln Lawyer, Arthur, Battle Beyond the Stars and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Buster Keaton: The Short Films 1920-1923 Charlie Chaplin may be the most famous name of the silent film era, but equally beloved and far less controversial is the man behind Cole Abaius’s favorite film, The General. Buster Keaton had a long career both before and after that Civil War-themed classic, and this newly remastered set includes all nineteen of his solo shorts along with a roaring freight train full of extras. The shorts are filled with sharp comedy and incredible physical stunts with some of the best being One Week, The Goat, and Cops. The extras include visual essays, deleted scenes, two additional shorts that see Keaton sharing the screen with the likes of Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Fatty Arbuckle, and newly recorded audio commentary with Keaton himself. Okay, that last one isn’t true, but this is still a brilliant collection.

read more...

This Week in Blu-ray

Re-releases are a tough business, I tell you. And this week is full of them. Be they the re-lighting of the old flame that still burns from Chaplin’s last trip as the Little Tramp or James Cameron’s twice released (this year) mega-event movie Avatar, This Week in Blu-ray is full of stuff that we’ve seen before, in various capacities. That doesn’t mean that some of these titles aren’t worth buying, as you might expect. A few of these titles will be welcomed additions to your collection. They may also have you cursing the names of faceless Fox executives who duped you into buying Avatar the first time around. Or Blu-ray column writers who recommended it, despite the obvious lack of special features… Actually, lets not focus on that last part. Why don’t we just move on to this week’s selection of high definition wonders.

read more...

Jay Baruchel Falling Over Himself to do Slapstick.

Last year, we got blackface back as a performance art. Now Jay Baruchel seeks to bring another vaudevillian art form back into the mainstream.

read more...

Buster Keaton in The General

Every Sunday, Film School Rejects presents a movie that was made before you were born and tells you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies Presents: The General (1927).

read more...
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.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
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