Donnie Darko

Nightcrawler Movie

It can be quite magical to be at a large film festival. There are hundreds to choose from – heaps of beautiful films that will never again leave their home country, indie delights that will receive the most minimal distribution, and of course, a smattering of Hollywood forays into deeper subject matter. You can meet people from all over the world, hear filmmakers and casts give insights into their productions, and have a valid excuse to eat piles of junk food as you race between screenings. But after the fiftieth time someone pushes their reclining seat back so far that it’s pinned your legs to your own chair, or people come and go repeatedly throughout the movie, or someone pulls out their phone and someone else yells at them, or any of the other results of hundreds of people seeing countless films together, any film fiend will start to descend into madness and wish for the joys of home couches and television screenings. This year, it’s not so hard to replicate the TIFF experience at home. There are filmmakers revisiting old tropes and material, actors honing talents that once made them stars, and features that nod to the films that came before. Here are seven films currently screening at TIFF, and the films they can be replaced with at home.

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aero

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, FSR’s Allison Loring chose one of her favorite theaters in Los Angeles. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Aero Theater Location: 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA Opened: Originally opened in 1939 as a 24-hour theater for aircraft workers, but closed in 2003 after Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas project (which was going to take over ownership of the theater) fell through because General Cinemas (which was being sold to AMC) went bankrupt. The Aero is now officially known as the “Max Palevsky Aero Theater” thanks to Palevsky’s funding for the American Cinematheque’s refurbishment of the theater which re-opened in January 2005. No. of Screens: 1 Current First-Run Titles: Prisoners Repertory Programming: The Aero always has special series going on – this month includes “Classics from the Cohen Film Collection” starting with Intolerance,“Satyajit Ray Restored” screening a slew of the filmmaker’s films including Charulata, The Music Room, The Big City, The Expedition, The Goddess, The Hero, The Coward, The Holy Man, The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha, and The Elephant God, and “Pure and Impure: The Films of Pier Paolo Pasolini” showing Accattone, Mamma Roma, The Decameron, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, and The Gospel According to St. Matthew. Special Events: Jon Favreau is a regular at the Aero (since it is his neighborhood theater) and almost […]

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John_Dies_At_The_End

Editor’s note: John Dies At The End is now playing in limited theatrical release, so let’s flash back exactly one year to look at Allison’s Sundance review, originally published on January 26, 2012. We all know what it means to be sauced, but John Dies At The End shows audiences what it means to be “on the sauce” – soy sauce that is, a hallucinogenic drug that not only messes with your mind, it messes with how you perceive time. This idea could be fun, but when you know one of your best friends meets his demise somewhere in that disjointed timeline (no spoilers there, as it’s revealed in the film’s title) this time manipulation becomes both stressful and confusing. While at a party, Dave (Chase Williamson) gets into a conversation with a reggae “magician” (Tai Bennett) who Dave doesn’t believe can do real magic. But when Robert Marley (the magician’s name, of course) is able to recount, in vivid detail, a dream Dave had the night before, he gets Dave’s attention. Later that night Dave gets a call from his best friend, a panicked and confused-sounding John (Rob Mayes), who thinks he has called Dave a bunch of times already that night and needs him to come over right away.

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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.  By the end of Breaking Dawn — Part 2, it’s clear that the Twilight Saga, as one long story about vampires, werewolves and a chaste teenage girl, is first and foremost a romance picture. This may not sound like a revelation, but in the past four years we’ve all looked at the series in terms of how it transcends the traditional “chick flick” ghetto to dabble in elements of superhero and horror genres, potentially wooing male moviegoers in the process. Interestingly enough, the finale features a sequence that is very much aimed at fans of genre cinema just before pulling a 180 and concluding with an ending that the same audience will find mushy and sappy as (their personal) hell. While romance figures into most film genres and even dominates the conventional Hollywood denouement for movies no matter what audience is targeted, most of these features are not classifiably romance pictures. The love stories are secondary or even tertiary in importance to plots primarily concerned with adventure or disaster or some treatment of good versus evil. And although there are antagonists strewn throughout the Twilight films, there aren’t really good guys and bad guys in proper terms. Instead there is simply love and family versus threat to love and family. […]

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In the new movie Pitch Perfect, a boy (Skylar Astin) introduces a girl (Anna Kendrick) to The Breakfast Club. It’s a believable scene, on it’s own. Even if I don’t necessarily think the 27-year-old John Hughes film, classic status notwithstanding, is a hugely important thing to the generation currently heading into college, I can accept that the guy is a movie soundtrack dork who seemingly loves only titles from before his birth and that she genuinely has never seen it. But it is a bit much that the signature Brat Pack film’s ending, with its iconic Simple Minds tune and Judd Nelson freeze-framed fist thrust, is played over and over, and the film figures so prominently into the romantic plot throughout. It all just feels like something from out of the mind of a thirty-something screenwriter rather than that of these modern-day teen characters. And the movie’s writer, Kay Cannon, is indeed a child of the ’80s and admits that The Breakfast Club is something she loves from her youth. Apparently, though, Say Anything was originally the teen movie of that era to be honored and made fun of in the new a-cappella-based comedy. She also is a big fan of Hughes’s Weird Science but couldn’t make it work. But for kids born around 1995, which is the target audience as well as the roles on screen, aren’t there more relevant films to reference? Maybe Mean Girls, Bring It On, Twilight, Rushmore, Juno, High School Musical, Superbad or — going […]

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Rian Johnson’s new film, Looper, is a pretty awesome time travel flick, one with as many elements that are clever and original as there are purposefully derivative and influenced. It’s the kind of smart and stylish sci-fi cinema we expect every once in a while on the festival circuit, like Sound of My Voice (which hits DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday), rather than from a major Hollywood studio. Looper does fit the indie model, though, since Sony/Tristar picked it up for distribution only after it was done shooting, yet as Brian’s review of the film attests, we can still consider it a good sign for mainstream movies of this genre, and we can hope that Hollywood will see Johnson as the sort of directorial talent they need. But is it the best science fiction film since The Matrix? That’s a question posed in a headline from Time magazine yesterday, though its respective post doesn’t address such a discussion let alone attempt to answer the inquiry. Well, if we exclude superhero movies, animated features (Pixar, Miyazaki and The Iron Giant among them) and the Star Trek reboot, Looper is currently one of only two original studio films of its order to be battling for the status of best reviewed since the Wachowskis’ groundbreaking modern classic. The other is Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.

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The best thing to do if you find yourself traveling through time is to go back in time and tell yourself to never travel through time, because you’re almost certainly going to fuck something up. For more advice on time travel, hop in your time machine and re-read this paragraph. Done? Okay. Now, assuming time travel really did work, there are multiple theories on the hows and whys. I could get really detailed on each, but I have a word limit and, like most Americans, I’m terrible at science (and please keep that in mind if I mess up any of the science in the rest of this article). I count myself lucky that my school even taught me evolution at this point. But one of the most compelling models of time travel is that of the closed time loop. In a closed time loop, time is immutable and there are no alternate timelines. You can’t change time because you already traveled back in time before. You always hopped in that time machine to go have one last bottle of Crystal Pepsi. It’s already a part of history (just like Crystal Pepsi, sadly). Yes, that does mean that in the normal flow of time, you popped in from the not-yet-defined “future”, drank your Crystal Pepsi, and disappeared again, creating a paradox that would only be solved when you built the time machine and… yeah, let’s not get into all that. The point is, closed time loops can lead to some […]

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Typecasting is death in Hollywood. If you keep doing the same kinds of roles over and over A) you’ll go insane and B) people will get sick of your shit. But the sad paradox of Hollywood is that once you’ve established yourself as one kind of actor, you’re basically stuck that way because that’s all people will send you scripts for, turning the whole thing into a spiral of bullshit. It’s extremely difficult to break out of, and it’s ended numerous careers. (Some for the better.) Some actors get fed up with it, and then you get the roles where those actors try to break out of their type (often unsuccessfully) and as time goes by they end up looking like movies from some creepy alternate dimension or something. But what’s also weird is going back through an actor’s early filmography and finding insane gems where they’re going totally against their later-established type. For some more famous examples, just look at Keanu Reeves in the Bill & Ted movies or Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Neither of those guys would even put their cigarette out on those scripts now, and that’s what makes seeing them in those roles hilarious. So now, in a far from comprehensive list, we’re going to look at some of the weirdest roles that actors have done outside of their typical repertoire.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we celebrate April Fool’s Day by talking seriously about great movies, director’s cuts and movies about people cutting other people up. Our very own Criterion Files writer Adam Charles teams up with Criterion Cast co-host Ryan Gallagher to convince me to become a member of the Criterion Cult. Junkfood Cinema specialist Brian Salisbury gets together with Gordon and the Whale editor (and VHS enthusiast) Brian Kelley as we all rejoice in the 25th anniversary of the ridiculous teen slasher flick April Fool’s Day and bathe in the acid bath of a few others. Plus, Jordan Hoffman of UGO and Jeremy Smith from Aint it Cool go mano y mano in our Movie News Pop Quiz in an epic battle to save the world from impending destruction (and to talk about director’s cuts, when they work, and when they don’t). Loosen up your tie and stay a while. 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 OutofFoucault23 and RockRockRockRocknRollHS in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair digs deeper into a question plaguing all of mankind: can a studio interfering with the artistic process actually create positive results? What happens when a director’s cut is worse than the initial release? They put their heads together to come up with just about every single example (take “single” literally) of a movie saved by studio intervention.

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It’s a taboo topic, but we brave the films that brave the unclear world of this sexual pathology and emerge unscathed with the best portrayals of pedophiles in film.

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decade_teenmovies

Though they very seldom win awards, the best teen movies usually compel repeat viewings and somehow seem to intuit the needs and tastes of generations to come. Here are 15 of the decade’s most memorable explorations of all the intrinsic charms and traumas of teendom.

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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KevinSmith

On the 16th anniversary of the first public screening of Clerks, we get personal with the man, the myth, the lunchbox as he rips his heart off his sleeve and slams it down on the table.

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DeathofCult

The gap is tightening – movies are either full-blown successes or major flops. In a content-driven culture, how are some films that fail at the box office supposed to fly under the radar to have a second-life on DVD?

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Donnie Darko

File this under WTF. According to Empire, Donnie Darko, that celebrated piece of indie film making with one of the strangest plots going, is reportedly getting a sequel.

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Southland Tales

While I can see some of the visionary imagination that gave us Darko, he’s a complete fish out of water. His satire is entirely misdirected, and the film never gels or even makes sense.

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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