David Thewlis

RED 2

2010′s Red was a fun action romp that featured both the expected in Bruce Willis and the unexpected in a hilarious John Malkovich and a gun-toting Helen Mirren. The $58 million comic adaptation grossed $200 million world-wide, and Summit happily moved forward on green-lighting a sequel. (Those sons of bitches over at Paramount can take a hint from that decision.) Most of the surviving cast members are returning alongside screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber, but director Robert Schwentke is not. Dean Parisot is taking his place, and while his name may not be recognizable maybe you’ve heard of a little, near perfect gem called Galaxy Quest? Yeah, he made that one. Check out Red 2‘s old school action below.

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Some of you may already know me by my Twitter handle: @thefilmcynic. It’s a name I’ve gone by for nearly a decade (so, before current social media outlets), because I’m very cynical about the film industry and try to keep my expectations low. I’m also very cynical about the Academy Awards and awards season in general, because we devote so much focus on them — with a wide spectrum of positive and negative angles — and they’re really a bunch of malarkey (much like the V.P. debate, which has inspired my newfound obsession with that word). So, the higher ups at FSR have asked me to write a cynical column devoted to the Oscars. The first one is inspired by the films Seven Psychopaths, Looper and Lincoln and their celebrated performances. As someone who has studied acting (I’m not very good at it), I’ve long taken issue with the way people look at film performances, because there are just so many different kinds. But there are two real distinct types that we tend to recognize while watching and writing about movies that aren’t acknowledged by the Academy: realistic and artificial. The former has been a big favorite since method acting came into play, though it doesn’t necessarily apply to that style nor does that style necessarily always mean realism. The latter could be more expressive and therefore goes back to the dawn of cinema and its silent performances or could even be more stiff, if that’s what’s intended. Directors who […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr pulls out his screening schedule, which looks like a gambling addict’s racing form. He bounces from huge, mainstream releases to minor indie award contenders. Facing motion-capture CGI, tattooed bisexual investigators, cross-dressing waiters, silent film actors, and a lead star who is literally hung like a horse, Kevin tries to make sense of the seemingly countless releases this holiday week. Exhaustion from this process makes it impossible to buy a zoo or face the 3D end of the world, but his movie stocking is full, nonetheless.

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Writer, now director, William Monahan crafts a unique brand of hard-boiled men. The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter never follows a guy who’s gonna throw-down and flex at any chance he gets. His protagonists are flawed, paradoxical, and in London Boulevard, even kind of feminine. Monahan’s adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel features a sensitive lead with no interest in being a gangster, an antagonist who’s more interested in kissing the Farrell character than killing him, and every other so-called mobster in this film could not be more incompetent. Unlike The Departed, Monahan has written an anti-gangster picture. Here’s what writer-director William Monahan had to say about vulnerable men, the current state of exposition, and why the last shot of The Departed still works, even if you didn’t get it:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on some 3D glasses to look at some puss… in boots, that is. He proceeds to rewrite fairy tale fiction to include more bodily function humor, an egg-shaped Zach Galifianakis and a hairy but still sexy Salma Hayek. Then, he heads to the reference department of his local library to discover who really wrote the complete works of William Shakespeare. When all signs point to Neil Miller as the real author, Kevin gives up, realizing he’s out of time. So he brings sexy back and heads out to kidnap Amanda Seyfried so he can occupy Hollywood and start a revolution together… or get arrested.

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Almost a year ago we got our first glimpse of William Monahan‘s (the writer behind The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven) directorial debut, London Boulevard, but it’s unfortunately taken a while for it to open in the states. Originally the film was going to be released by FilmDistrict, then not too long ago IFC took over distribution. While the British gangster pic wasn’t greeted with the best response, I happen to like Monahan’s debut a whole lot. This trailer, which is fairly similar to the U.K. one, is well representative. It sells the slickness and cool factor just right, where the film works best. The film isn’t as grand or as epic as The Departed, but it’s a smooth and clever directorial about a gangster trying not to be a gangster. And, yes, Ray Winstone is as fun as he looks in this trailer.

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William Monahan‘s directorial debut, London Boulevard, has been sitting on the shelf for some time now. The gangster pic got released in the U.K. last November, but we have seen no official press materials stateside. FilmDistrict was originally going to distribute the film for us American folk, but that no longer seems to be the case. IFC Films has swung in and picked up the U.S. distribution rights. With the talent involved, it could very well be their first investment to earn more than ten dollars. Considering they are a company that takes admirable chances, good for them. They will be giving Monahan’s film their usual indie treatment. First, it’ll premiere on VOD (October 5th), then later on hit limited release (November 14th). One would think a movie starring Colin Farrell would get a wider release than this, but the strategy makes sense. London Boulevard is not the most commercial film, and it’s far from a critical darling. The movie was ripped to shreds by critics in the U.K., and it’ll probably be received the same way here.

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For whatever reason, Roland Emmerich has decided to jettison his traditional style of destroying the world on film by way of pre-destined end-times or global warming or goo-covered aliens and has taken his cinematic endeavors in an entirely new direction. This time around, Emmerich doesn’t want to blow up the world – he wants to blow up literary history (and, by doing so, also blow up the minds, hearts, and souls of English lit majors everywhere). In Anonymous, Emmerich riffs on the theory that William Shakespeare didn’t actually write all of his works, and that the entire literary world has been at the mercy of the widespread lie that he did. At its heart, Anonymous is a conspiracy flick. About Shakespeare. It’s a Shakespeare-icy flick (you’re welcome). Somehow, Emmerich’s bizarre left-hand turn into historical whodunit gathered a solid cast that includes Edward Hogg, David Thewlis, Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson, and Rafe Spall. I don’t know if they’re in on the joke or not, but Anonymous still looks like the cheap punchline of a terrible joke that doesn’t quite make sense. Even the jokes about this film seem too strange to be real:

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Here’s a fun fact: Prior to 2001′s releases of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, fantasy movies were frequently silly, low-budget shlockfests that actors only wanted to make so they could eat something other than whatever they scraped from under their fridge for another month. (For the record, I am told that this lifestyle — I like to call it Underfridging — is good for bolstering your immune system. On the other hand, high potential for scurvy. Your call.) And since the Harry Potter series has spanned eight films and employed every single actor in Britain at least once (twice in the case of Warwick Davis), you know there’s a treasure trove of painfully cheesy fantasy movies lurking in their collective resumes. Let’s take a look at some of them!

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. There is a noticeable lack of the kind of imaginative children’s movies that echo the tone and style of Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story or even The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. There are great family films out there these days, but many that set sail for the boundaries of imagination to meet fantastical characters along the way to a lesson. The Narnia movies come to mind, but they really fell flat. It’s time that we all went on another adventure together. I’m proposing that someone readies the Basset to set a course for somewhere we’ve never been before.

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Fox ordered Ridley Scott to extract about 40 minutes of footage from his original cut of the film, making the theatrical cut borderline incomprehensible, puny, meaningless, and a box-office bomb. With the additional footage added back in for The Director’s Cut the film transforms into something grand, gorgeous, and significant.

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Roland Emmerich loves destruction. If you can’t glean that little tidbit from his filmography — Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 — then you’re doing it wrong. The man loves to take something great, like Earth or humanity, and force us to watch it die in the most theatrical (not to mention implausible) ways. So it makes perfect sense that he will next tackle the work of William Shakespeare with Anonymous.

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