Drama

Lee Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin) is a collector for a loan shark. He cripples his non-paying clients in order to collect the insurance money. One day a woman, played by Cho Min-soo, appears claiming to be his mother who abandoned him as a child. This discovery leads Kang-do down a path which includes reconsidering his line of work and his viewpoint on life in general. Kim Ki-duk‘s Pieta plays wonderfully into an ever-growing subgenre of South-Korean revenge films (including I Saw the Devil, Oldboy and The Man From Nowhere). Here we’re able to enjoy a very slow burning plot as it’s broken into two separate sections. The first being where Kang-do is the collector who breaks limbs to reconcile debts, the next being where he’s a love drowned character, adoring his mother in an almost childlike state. As the film turns to that second half the reveal leads to interesting ideas of what one will do both for revenge and for love. We see characters endure in the face of despair as Kang-do’s mother goes missing and he goes hunting, believing this to be the work of one of his crippled former clients.

read more...

TIFF Review Smashed

Smashed takes a look at alcoholism through the eyes of a married couple, Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), who should so happen to both be alcoholics. Their relationship is completely based on their shared love of a bottle of beer, wine, whiskey, tequila, and such other recipes for liver disease. After an incident at her job (elementary school teacher, oops), Kate decides to try getting sober, which proves to not only be a massive personal undertaking, but one that puts a huge strain on her marriage. Smashed quickly proves that Kate’s alcoholism, while not good for her, is exactly what makes her relationship with Charlie seem great. Before we reach the point where it’s clearly more than a just little problem and the audience is ready to call for their own intervention, the scenes of Paul and Winstead together on screen (while obviously self-destructive) are fantastic to watch. We see the couple doing such mundane things as playing croquet and riding their bikes, but these scenes are so beautiful that we really get a sense of their connection. 

read more...

In Certified Copy, Abbas Kiarostami explored two people casually discussing their lives, revealing a surprising amount of information about themselves. The same format is taken here as Akiko (Rin Takanashi), a working girl who’s studying in Japan, is sent on an engagement with Watanabe (Tadashi Okuno), a former professor. The film begins in a bar with Akiko off screen on the phone talking to her boyfriend Noriaki (Ryo Kase), who’s concerned and curious about what’s going on with her. Slowly we see Hikoshi step into the picture, her booker, who spends the next ten minutes talking her into taking the engagement.

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A young kid’s sneakers pound the pavement, running away from the bullies that stole his bike. As he rounds a corner, he tries to blend in with a group of thugs, and it works, but as he is welcomed into their group, he starts to understand the price of friendship. With crisp camera work (Zeiss lenses/Sigma 1.4) and a sound design that places you right on the streets if you close your eyes, Clifton Archuleta‘s short is an excellent portrayal of dangerous youth living in a world made difficult mostly by themselves. Ultimately, it’s a story about choices and our power to make the difficult ones. What will it cost? Only 12 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? While calmly paced, every moment in Rommel Eclarinal‘s short film about a Chinese woman and Mexican man trying to get across the US border is engaging. Like Sin Nombre, North of Ojinaga quietly explores the intensity and anguish that crossing the desert into the Promised Land brings for illegal immigrants. Beautifully shot with only the piano’s whisper of a score, it’s a contemplative but difficult journey to go on. What will it cost? Only 23 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

Daniel Stamm‘s A Necessary Death is like a shot of whiskey that’s easy to pour but not easy to drink. His directorial debut (which won him the job for The Last Exorcism) follows a film student making a documentary about a man preparing for, and going through with, his suicide. It’s difficult territory to be certain, but it’s handled with grace, humor, and more than a few touching moments which make the horror of the inevitable and the twisting emotions growing in the film crew that much harder to handle. It’s an excellent movie, and Stamm joins us to delve deeper into its creation (and audience’s reactions). Download Episode #138

read more...

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Isn’t it nice to know that no matter the chaos of the universe, Paul Thomas Anderson is out there making movies? Amidst a an ebbing sea of hype and disappointment, he’s out there, takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. The second trailer for his forthcoming film, The Master, is an incredible example of cinematography and contemplative acting from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Plus, Amy Adams round out the mix. The movie focuses on Hoffman’s religious icon known as “The Master” as he builds a relationship with Phoenix’s character Freddie – a drifter who becomes his assistant. Check out the trailer for yourself:

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? In 2007, Kate Hudson made her first movie as a director (complete with a Humble Pie reference), and the free spirit of youth and antique love is on full display. Kristen Stewart‘s best work might also be on display. She and Dakota Fanning play young girls discovering true desire, but instead of dumb boys, they’re swooning over a classic car and a sweet guitar. Virginia Madsen and Kurt Russell play a father and mother (each responding to their offspring’s Must Have Mentality), and the whole simple story plays out with the tension that comes naturally from needing something badly without knowing if you’ll get it. It’s something anyone who has ever had to haggle over the price of something they’re pretending not to care about knows. Hudson and company capture the sentiment well – the heart of it residing in Stewart’s eyes as she first spots a shiny Cutlass with a price tag on it and the sun rays flood in. Nostalgia and bad ass chicks. Nothing wrong with either. What will it cost? Only 13 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

Only God Forgives Ryan Gosling

Nicolas Winding Refn‘s forthcoming Only God Forgives is the story of a director in search of cool toys to collect, but in front of the cameras, it’s the tale of a policeman in Bangkok getting into a Thai boxing ring with a notorious gangster. It stars Ryan Gosling, Kristen Scott Thomas, Yayaying and Vithaya Pansringarm, and by the looks of these first images, it looks like the bruises are still fresh.

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? After a heated argument, a man swarms to his car to get a hammer and returns back into the house. Ryan Connolly‘s short film starts with a concussive blast of tension and doesn’t loosen the throat-clenching grip for its entire runtime. It’s an exploration of a broken psychology that might just mark the emergence of a strong new talent. Featuring seductively intimate handheld cinematography, intense acting and a dark story, it’s stellar work on a shoestring budget. What will it cost? Only 30 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Grant Jordan‘s short film takes a common dramatic twist and twists it to great effect. Sympathy for a Dreamer tells the story of a man beleaguered by the loss of his wife who takes trips to the park with his son for a special, therapeutic reason. While the acting is slightly stiff from the adults, the kid here is an adorable ball of dynamite, and the overall sense of the film is a calm sort of sadness that promises hope but doesn’t feel too glad about it. Strong camera work buoys it, and the story shines through delicate writing. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Impersonating a nun, finding impure uses for her body parts, seducing a man of the cloth – Jennifer Garner is filthy. And sweet. And in love. In Rodrigo Garcia‘s new short, she and Alfred Molina sap every ounce of humanity and drama from the wood of the confessional. It’s a film comprised almost solely of dialogue (with a pristine shot selection just for good measure). There’s a pulpy feel to it – a kind of polite insanity that still feels rooted even in its mythical (and undeniably romantic) setting. Both actors are in solid form here – proof that Garner can do more than what she’s been handed in the past, and although her sweetness is played upon, it never feels exploitative. What will it cost? Only 11 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

The Hunt Movie (Jagten)

When a film’s pre-release marketing includes mention of false accusations of pedophilia, and the subsequently unraveling world of  the accused kindergarten assistant, and it has been included in Competition at Cannes, you could be forgiven for expecting an openly provocative project designed for no more than an Ulrich Seidl style rise from the audience. But unlike last year’s festival inclusion Michael, from Austrian director Markus Schleinzer, Jagten or The Hunt in my mother tongue, takes a more subtle approach to the considerably dangerous material, exploring lead character Lucas’ accusation as a harrowing situational horror that crawls under the audiences skin and which is profoundly successful as a slow-burning drama with a biting edge. While the horror of Michael was in the matter of fact way the film presented its protagonist – a pedophile who keeps his young victim captive in a basement prison – in perversely conventional terms, Jagten’s horror is far more artfully conceived, presenting an irresistible What If situation that quickly escalates because of the nature of an accusation and the dangers of gossip and presumption. In the hands of director Thomas Vinterberg, we watch with tangible horror as the cataclysmic waves blossom out from a malicious lie and threaten to swallow up Mads Mikkelsen‘s Lucas.

read more...

Scoot McNairy at Cannes

Scoot McNairy and Brad Pitt recently tag teamed Cannes with Killing Them Softly, which is apparently pretty good. Unsurprisingly.So it’s probably unsurprising that the pair are going to be working together again in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave. Speaking of people who love working together, the film stars Michael Fassbender as a plantation owner who buys a free man (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. According to Variety, McNairy will be playing a “shrewd circus worker” who has his eye on selling a free man as a slave. Hopefully McNairy can sell cabbage-smelling hands in a medium without scent.

read more...

Word on the street is that Oren Moverman‘s Rampart is pretty damned good. It stars Woody Harrelson as an LAPD cop in the wake of the Rampart scandal in the 1990s. It also features Ice Cube, who doesn’t at all still represent the LA of the early 1990s. The thing is, even if the movie were terrible, this poster would still be awesome. It looks absolutely stunning, and we’re giving one away. Plus, one (1) lucky winner will get a Harrelson-signed script to go with their new wall art. How do you enter? Excellent rhetorical question! Here’s how:

read more...

If you’ve ever seen a Tim Burton movie, you know the guy is probably pretty awkward. At the very least, he’s gotta be soft-spoken, right? Which begs the question, “How interesting can a Tim Burton-only commentary be?” Well, we’re here to answer that very question with this week’s Commentary Commentary. In honor of Dark Shadows, Burton’s latest collaboration with Johnny Depp, we’ve decided to go back and delve into their first pairing, Edward Scissorhands. Burton took the commentary duties by his lonesome here, and I’m sure amid all the fumbling of words and general gracelessness there’s enough to pack in here to hold our interest. At the very least it’ll be an entertaining car wreck. So here, without further ado, is everything we learned about Edward Scissorhands from listening to its director, Tim Burton, speak on it. We didn’t learn Tim Burton is a strange guy. We knew that one already.

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Call it sugary, call it a little schmaltzy, but there’s a lot to love about Takashi Doscher‘s new short film that focuses on a very lucky cab driver who wins tickets to Game 7 of the World Series and his last client of the day. Slickly shot with as much heart as humor, it overcomes a general Aw Shucks vibe with a loveable comedic lug in star Ted Huckabee and stands as further proof that Doscher is a talent to watch out for. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Borrowing Maurice Ravel‘s most famous work as a backdrop, writer/director Dennis Brucks tells a slow-motion fantasy about a young man living through a terrible home life and a young girl living in the wall who helps him escape. Its pace follows the methodical snare drum smack, and the visuals are bathed in sunlight no matter how golden brown they get. It’s a strong work of wordless storytelling that’s gripping but doesn’t squeeze too tight. What will it cost? Only 15 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

read more...

You know what’s hot right now? Poker. Pretend you’re reading this in 2006. You know what’s really hot right now? Asking about things that are hot right now. It’s true. That’s why all the celebrity magazines do it. At least two obvious answers to that ever-present question are Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. According to Variety, the pair will be trying to pack a full house for Runner Runner, a movie focused on the world of illegal online gambling. Beyond the big names set to star, there’s more talent behind the typewriter and in the director’s chair. The script comes from Brian Koppelman and David Lieven (Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen), and the production has snagged Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) to direct. Jokes about relevancy aside, this sounds cool as hell. Rounders was sharp, and it’ll be fascinating to see Affleck follow in Matt Damon’s footsteps. Potential-wise, all the names look killer here. The subject could be straight out of the noir playbook, but making online poker seem invigorating will definitely be a challenge.

read more...

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A woman is asked to interrogate her husband to see if he’s who he claims to be, or if he’s a dangerous shape-shifter in this swift, starkly-crafted science fiction gem. With verbal dexterity, it keeps up the mystery even with death on the line. What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

Listen to Junkfood Cinema
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