Christopher Nolan

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The last time Ellen Page was onscreen, she played a pseudo intellectual temptation for the protagonist of Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love. It was a comical role, one that really fit in nicely with the oblivious Allen-type characters. Now she can be seen in The East with a performance that couldn’t be more different. Here, playing Izzy, Page is an intimidating presence in the eco-terrorist group the film follows. In terms of genre and performance, it’s a 180-degree turn for the actress. Like most actors, that’s something Page strives for. She’s been making some inspired, or no-brainer, choices of who to craft those diverse performances with. In Christopher Nolan, David Slade, Jason Reitman, Lynn Shelton and James Gunn, Page has worked with some of today’s best talents. The East finds her joined up with an exciting duo in the film world, Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling. We discussed Batmanglij and Marling’s thriller with Ellen Page, as well as her process, the world The East unveils, and more:

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Caine

What is Casting Couch? Today, it’s pondering the inevitability of all Christopher Nolan-related casting while readying some sweet margaritas for the weekend. Please contain your shock as we pass on news that Michael Caine will join Christopher Nolan for a sixth outing, as the veteran actor has now signed on for a role in the director’s upcoming and already tremendously anticipated Interstellar. It’s currently unknown what role Caine will play in the sci-fi feature, so there’s scarce little for us to write here beyond the usual “he will be great,” “it will be great,” “they will be great.” Great stuff. [Deadline, via ComingSoon] Fine, fine, we’ll also throw you another Interstellar bone to make up for our lack of knowledge. Deadline (via ComingSoon) also reports that Jessica Chastain is lining up to join the new feature as well. Chastain is in talks to play the “third lead” in the film, next to the already-cast Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, which pretty much tells us just as much as that Caine casting does, so we’re at a bit of a loss here. Perhaps a love triangle? Pure speculation? Fine, we still don’t know much about the film. But isn’t that sort of nice?

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Christopher Nolan

In tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark, Christopher Nolan and Michael Bay share tools, Captain America starts the march toward more Avengers movies, Steve Jobs gets a tree and YouTube takes a step back in time. Also, The Simpsons…

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Anne Hathaway

Christopher Nolan’s next film as a director, Interstellar, is something of a mystery. We know that it was originally set up by Steven Spielberg, that it has something to do with wormholes and time travel, and that Jonathan Nolan was brought on board to write the initial script, but any sort of plot or character specifics have been closely guarded. Lately some casting news regarding the sure-to-be-huge blockbuster has started to leak though.

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Judy Greer

What is Casting Couch? It’s a handy list of the day’s casting news. Today we’ve got a joyous confirmation and some intriguing possibilities, including some huge news about the A-list director Matthew McConaughey may be working with next. So far all of the casting news we’ve learned about Matt Reeves‘ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has regarded actors coming on board to play human characters, but in an exciting twist we now we have a tidbit about who’s going to be putting on a motion capture suit to join Andy Serkis’ Caesar over on the ape side of the equation. Vulture is reporting that Judy Greer (Arrested Development, The Descendants) has joined the film in the role of Cornelia, the hairy dame who’s serving as a love interest for Caesar. If Greer’s long history of being solid in supporting roles isn’t enough to convince you that she’s qualified to pull off such an out there role, Vulture also has a scoop that she had Planet of the Apes-themed toppers on her wedding cake. So, you know, turns out she’s a weirdo. Sounds great.

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Less than two years ago, scientists at UC San Diego made the “discovery” that spoilers don’t matter. Not only did they find that stories aren’t ruined by knowing the ending but that people prefer stories when they know the ending. That sounded like hogwash to a lot of us, and to a degree the study was faulted. For one thing, it doesn’t really apply to anything but short stories, as that’s the only medium employed. And on top of that, these short stories weren’t of much significance to the participating subjects. The people weren’t invested in the stories, which makes a huge difference according to a more in-depth look at spoilers in a new article at The Atlantic. Change the studied medium to a series finale of a TV show the subjects had been watching for years (or at least many seasons’ worth of episodes), and you’ll surely see different results. Even then, there are always a number of factors to consider. One thing the UCSD study got correct, not that it was a revelation, is that good storytelling throughout is more important than plot, especially a plot’s conclusion. That is what matters most to enjoyment, regardless of the medium, and what makes us return to certain stories over and over. But if you consider the way we relate to stories, the return to some works can also be more akin to revisiting our past, thinking back on a memory or watching an old home movie. Even if you’re re-reading […]

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Christopher Nolan at Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the largest independent fests in the country, but it probably has the best reputation for launching filmmaking careers and being the only thing in January that will be remembered around Oscar time 13 months later. It’s debatable just how “indie” it is — especially with studio shingles routinely picking up audience favorites for distribution — but it’s difficult to deny the raw directorial power that’s moved through Park City over the years. Names like Christopher Nolan, Kevin Smith, The Coen Brothers and Steven Soderbergh can count themselves amongst the Sundance ranks, but there are many, many more. In that (independent) spirit, here’s a double-size list of tips (for fans and filmmakers alike) from 12 directors who made a name at Sundance.

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Batman Begins

Our good pals over at ScreenRant have introduced a little anarchy into the world by editing together a video that chronicles the entirety of Christopher Nolan‘s take on Batman in just 3 minutes. The plot beats and action moments they’ve left in to tell the story are almost as interesting as the stuff they left out in order to stay under the gun. Most noticeably absent is any hint of Bruce Wayne’s great romances. There are few snippets, but they’re under an ocean of acid-burnt faces and villains with strange hardware. It’s a bit of fun for a Tuesday though. Definitely meant for those who have seen the films (so, everyone) and can appreciate the condensed version of Gotham.  

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Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan‘s epic superhero trilogy is behind him which means it’s time for him to direct something original and better. Consider that less of a knock on his Dark Knight trilogy than it is praise for his non-superhero films like The Prestige, Memento and Inception. But while legions of fans online would squee at word of him directing Will Beall’s script for the Justice League movie… that announcement doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. He’s going with time travel and some well-earned nepotism instead.

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Year in Review: Best Criterion

It seems like every year we have to begin this particular article with the disclaimer that we aren’t necessarily talking about the best releases Criterion put upon us this calendar year. If one made a list of top 10 home releases in a given year one could conceivably litter that list with nothing but Criterion releases, and still find themselves in the same predicament. Here, our approach to this article has, more often than not, been based on a wow factor in one of many different areas. Either a wow for the presentation of the release, a wow for the personal discovery of something previously unknown, a wow for the collective power of a set, or, occasionally the most fun, a wow for the “I can’t believe Criterion released that….I’m really happy Criterion decided to release that…but seriously can you believe they released that?” This year was no different in any of those respects for Criterion as they continue to put out some of the most impressive releases month in and month out with films that have been in dire need of the Criterion treatment for a long time (Purple Noon), notoriously maligned and controversial artworks that deserve a second chance (Heaven’s Gate), their continuous support for the unique voices of the next generation of filmmakers (Tiny Furniture) while trying to also include the early works of some of modern cinema’s most exciting visionaries (The Game, Being John Malkovich, Shallow Grave); which, on that note, brings us to our first […]

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Pacific Rim

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column recapping news, updating you on the trends of today and bringing you thoughts on what is going on in this world gone mad. We begin this evening with a number of looks at Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. In conjunction with the newly released trailer, these images, poster, etc. have brought the buzz around this one to a fever-pitch just as the movie del Toro passed on (The Hobbit) moves into theaters. It’s an interesting dichotomy, really. While Peter Jackson has delivered one of the bigger disappointments of 2012 (see my notes below), del Toro gives us hope for 2013. Lots and lots of hope. More new images just after the break.

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Man of Steel

There’s a ton of inspirational philosophizing in the new trailer for Man of Steel, and damn does it also look awe-inspiring. Massive in scope, potentially intimate in its character arcs, terrifying use of Michael Shannon‘s eyes. All excellent notes (even if the song choice is a bit too cloying). If trailers can be trusted, this one yells from the cold mountaintops that Zack Snyder‘s take on Superman will be a thing of wonder. It’s exhilarating. I think I need to catch my breath. Man of Steel hits theaters June 2013.

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Drinking Games

You may have heard of the small independent film The Dark Knight Rises, which hit theaters this summer. Now, it’s out on DVD and Blu-ray, and also available in a box set of all the Nolanverse Batman movies. Bat-fans around the world can finally die happy in the Mayan apocalypse with the knowledge that they can have this movie in their Blu-ray collection. Of course, the film does run close to three hours, and in the privacy of your own home, it’s something that can be enjoyed with a drink in hand. You may not get as tipsy as Bane does with that opium-fueled mask he has, but with this drinking game, you can have even more fun as Gotham crumbles.

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Boiling Point

A week ago, the folks at HitFix said that “according to sources,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt was going to pick up the cape and cowl and assume the mantle of Batman in the planned Justice League film. The legal minds and representatives for JGL pretty quickly pounced on the story, saying that Levitt was not attached to the production, a vague denial at best. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises you should probably stop reading. To avoid putting any spoilers, no matter how dated, on the front page, I’ll first briefly talk about another section of the HitFix article which put forth an image of Batman showing up at the end of the upcoming Man of Steel film as a segue into the Justice League flick. While that is certainly a possibly and also certainly just one man’s guess at how the new Batman would be revealed, I’d like to throw out there that it is an entirely bad idea. DC should be taking notes from Marvel and with as much as Marvel has done right on the screen, the one big thing they did wrong was Iron Man 2, when they took the focus away from the titular character and used the movie as more of a lead-in and introduction to The Avengers. With these two separate characters, DC would do well to keep them separate until they’re sharing the screen, rather than one just poking his head in. Now then….

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Dark Knight Rises Poster - Gordon-Levitt

For those of you clamoring for a Robin movie after the underwhelming ending of The Dark Knight Rises, your dreams may have just been dashed. However, a new dream may have arrived as its replacement: Joseph Gordin-Levitt as our new Batman. That’s right, boring cop John Blake may takeover as the cape crusader. This news comes as one of first pieces of casting rumors for the upcoming Justice League movie, and while we should never take those rumblings too seriously, Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny seems pretty confident in his exclusive. McWeeny says, according to his sources, Levitt will “absolutely” be playing Batman in the Justice League picture. That’s not all, as Warners Bros. is apparently locking down deals not only with Levitt, but with one other actor from Nolan’s Batman universe. More than likely, it’s Lucius Fox providing the team with gadgetry and such or Alfred to help pick Blake up when he’s down.

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Video: The Dark Knight Rises: Bane’s football explosion As you may know, The Dark Knight Rises is hitting home disc formats on December 3rd. It’s almost like there’s a major purchasing season in the works, and maybe the team at Legendary read Robert Fure’s rant about special editions and bonus features because they’re showing off the stuff you get if you go Blu-ray and go home with Batman’s last adventure (until it’s rebooted next week). To wit, a tidy little behind-the-scenes look at how the team blew up a football field as Hines Ward ran in for a touchdown. Spoiler alert: they did it by blowing up a football field as Hines Ward ran in for a touchdown. Most fascinating is probably the design-level coordination it took to build small bunkers for actors to dive into while simulating their disappearance from the collapsing field. Of course, it’s great simply to get a glimpse into the mind of Christopher Nolan and visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin. Very cool stuff. [MSN]  

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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As far as I can tell, regular folk don’t care for movies about movies or films about filmmaking. They used to, back when Hollywood was a more glamourous and idolized place for Americans. Classics like Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1954 version of A Star is Born were among the top-grossing releases of their time. But 60 years later, it seems the only people really interested in stories of Hollywood, actors, directors, screenwriters, et al. are people involved with the film industry — the self-indulgence being one step below all the awards nonsense — and movie geeks, including film critics and fans. If you’re reading Film School Rejects, you’re not one of the aforementioned “regular folk,” and you probably get more of a kick out of stuff like Living in Oblivion, Ed Wood, Get Shorty, State and Main, The Hard Way, The Last Tycoon, The Stunt Man, The Big Picture, The Player, Bowfinger, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Argo than those people do. While it is true that The Artist faced the challenge of being a silent film, another major obstacle in the way of box office success must have been its Hollywood setting. Argo isn’t really literally about filmmaking, though, and that might be working in its favor. Ben Affleck‘s period thriller, which is expected to finally take the top spot at the box office this weekend, is about not making a film, so it should have the opposite result of most movies in which […]

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Sam Mendes Directing Skyfall

After hearing a few filmmakers go back and forth about whose work is less important, it feels really good to see a noteworthy director give such praise and credit to a peer. In an excellent piece at IndieWire, Sam Mendes explains why Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight helped influence his take on James Bond in Skyfall. “It would be a tragedy if all the serious movies were very small and all the popcorn movies were very big and have nothing to say,” said Mendes. “And what Nolan proved was that you can make a huge movie that is thrilling and entertaining and has a lot to say about the world we live in, even if, in the case with The Dark Knight, it’s not even set in our world. It felt like a movie that was about our world post-9/11 and played on our fears, and discussed our fears and why they existed, and I thought that was incredibly brave and interesting. That did help give me the confidence to take this movie in directions that, without The Dark Knight, might not have been possible.” That topical relevance is something that’s been building in the franchise ever since Daniel Craig took over, although it’s certainly the case that older 007 outings spoke specifically to the era they were made in, for better (From Russia With Love) or for pop culture worse (Moonraker). Mendes’ further comments seem to confirm that studios have caught on to the reality of making darker films during a time when […]

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Last night a bunch of critics in the UK were treated to an early screening of Skyfall, and while nobody invited any of our diehard 007 junkies, I figured it’s worth our while to take a look at the first reactions to the new James Bond blockbuster. To do so, I’m using the recent breakdown of elements by one of FSR’s resident Bond experts, Kevin Carr, in order to dissect the reviews and highlight their takes on each individual ingredient. What about overall opinions? It seems they’re generally of a simple consensus, that Skyfall is not only a great return for the series following the disappointing Quantum of Solace but it may be one of the best Bond installments yet. This feat is achieved, apparently, in director Sam Mendes‘s balance of serious and nostalgic tone, brought about with a script (by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan) pays tribute to the past films and franchise conventions while still also delivering a lot of fresh ideas. And Roger Deakins‘s cinematography sounds like a real highlight of the film — even Oscar-worthy, according to some critics. Check out what the reviews (linked at the bottom of the page) have to say about Bond’s fit with the 10 main ingredients of a 007 film after the break.

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