E.T.

Game of Thrones Golden Hand

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

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IntroFirstContact

There seems to be some kind of popular misconception that if aliens were to land on our planet, they’d somehow want to beat us up. In reality, it’s probably going to be the other way around. Want proof? How about the fact that we assume they’d do it to us. But not every film paints the extraterrestrial as the bad guy, as the following eight clearly show us, good old humanity, as the total asshole side of the exchange.

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“In a perfect world, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ would be a lock for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.” – Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit It must be frustrating to write for an awards blog (aka an Oscar blog, since the Academy Awards are always the main focus of these sites), and know that the best films of the year are not necessarily the ones that will be nominated. Magidson’s comment above, from his April review of The Cabin in the Woods, sort of sums that up. But at the same time I don’t know if the movie truly deserves the statement. Something to consider, semantically speaking, is that the Academy’s award is not for “Most Original Screenplay” but “Best Original Screenplay.” This isn’t to say that the script, by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, isn’t well-written, and you’re welcome to argue its case for a nomination. Is it the best-written original screenplay of the year, though? All my time as a movie lover and watcher of the Oscars, including the past few years of hate-watching, the original screenplay category is one I’ve constantly been excited about. It’s the place where you could find some of the more clever and creative efforts, including a number of films that might not get other nominations. You could find a good number of interesting foreign films outside of the foreign-language award ghetto (such as Bunuel‘s two nominations for writing), as well as an interesting showing of mainstream and blockbuster fare, especially in the […]

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Drinking Games

Thirty years ago, Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial became the biggest box office success of all time. Now, Universal has finally released the Blu-ray of this family science fiction classic, which makes great companion viewing with Spielberg’s other recent Universal Blu-ray releases, Jaws and Jurassic Park. Just as E.T. breaks into the refrigerator in the middle of the day and gets drunk on Coors beer, you can join in the fun without leaving your home. There was a terrible E.T. board game back in the 80s, but this game is sure to be a lot more fun. By the end, it’s likely you won’t be able to phone anyone on this planet or any other.

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Cloud Atlas

The first thirty minutes of hanging out in line or around the Alamo Drafthouse on Day One of Fantastic Fest is reserved for excited greetings, hugs you only get one week out of the year and a discussion of what’s been going on with family. It’s a community coming together just like any other, and that means baby photos and inside jokes. The week after those thirty minutes features a lot of topics, but it’s anchored by discussion about what the secret screenings will be. Amid conversations about how fast Donnie Yen really is and what sex with an octopus might yield, the active guessing of the unnamed movies perforates, growing in waves of disinformation and speculation as the time slot grows closer. The thrill of waiting in a packed theater (with a bucket of beer), filled with anticipation (and a bucket of beer from earlier) is one of the unique emotions the festival offers, and a big part of that is trying to fit uneven puzzle pieces together. This is pure speculation – borne from my years of experience with Fantastic Fest and a look at the forthcoming release calendar – so take it only as that. We already know what movies will be there, but here are 10 that just might show up in a TBA slot.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the next big thing, the opening night every night, the closing ceremony before the event even starts. It’s also a contender in the 100-meter dash. We begin this evening with a great new image from Rian Johnson’s Looper featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his next breakout role. I say next because this guy seems to be on a hot streak of break-out roles. How many breakout roles can one have, anyway?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s just a nightly movie news column that has problems finding a place to park, just like the rest of you. We begin tonight with a stop at The Mary Sue, where images have been uncovered featuring Doctor Who‘s new companion, as played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. According to Steven Moffat: “Who [Coleman is] playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.” Fun.

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If you’re “too old” to skulk around all hunch-backed in your own yard looking for the painted eggs your little cousin hid for you, why are you holding that remote with the Pause Button at the ready? We all love hunting. It’s in our nature. Just like we love discounted Criterion titles, free scotch and foot massages that don’t mean anything sexual. So here are some Movie Easter Eggs to hunt down. Bonus one? They involve movies, so you have a solid excuse to just watch movies all week. Bonus two? If you can’t find them, they won’t smell rotten after a few days. And be sure to add your favorite in the comments section for fellow hunter/gatherers:

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Alamo Drafthouse Summer of 1982

Blade Runner. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Road Warrior. The list of incredible films released during the summer of 1982 goes on and on. From E.T. to Tron, it could very well be the greatest summer of movies in the history of nerds, geeks, lovers of cinema and eaters of popcorn. It was one of those summers that defined the term “Summer Movie.” The only sad thing about it is that 1982 came before many of us were born. An entire generation of movie geeks who grew up with these movies, but never quite got to experience them all together as they did in that one magical summer. The Alamo Drafthouse is looking to change that. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “greatest summer of movies ever,” our friends at the Alamo have designed a screening series unlike any other. Mirroring the release schedule — to the best of their ability — of the Summer of 1982, the Drafthouse will present 1982′s best blockbusters in 35mm, with plenty of Mondo posters, special guests and a few other surprises that — and I say this with only limited knowledge beyond what we’re telling you here — will absolutely blow your minds. They’ve asked a special group of websites — Film School Rejects included — to co-host each screening. We drew The Road Warrior. It’s basically the greatest thing to happen to us since, well, we first saw The Road Warrior. So if you’re in the area of an Alamo Drafthouse, we’ve […]

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

Back in ’82 this little movie came out about a boy who found an alien in his backyard. It was called E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Ever heard of it? He phoned home and whatnot? This was basically the movie that solidified Steven Spielberg as being not just a guy who was making great movies everybody liked, but as being the most important director in the world: the guy. When you see that Amblin Entertainment logo you know you’re in for a certain kind of movie designed to appeal to everyone, and it’s an image from E.T. that gets the job done. Russkies came out in ’87, when the outbreak of Spielberg imitator movies about kids going on adventures was in full swing. This one is about a group of kids who find a Russian naval officer who has washed up on the coast of their Florida town. Even Spielberg knockoffs as bad as Mac and Me still get mentioned when people start talking about the good old days of the 80s, when family programming was king, but I’ve never in my life heard anyone bring up Russkies. Considering two of the main three kids in this movie are a young Joaquin Phoenix (pre-hobo beard) and Peter Billingsley (pretty much the king of 80s nostalgia), how is this movie completely forgotten?

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Culture Warrior

Buried deep within this sentence (Doritos are delicious) is an advertisement. Did you catch it? You probably didn’t because it was so subtly subliminal, but that’s exactly how product placement has worked for a century to varying degrees of success. After all, there’s a thin line between using real-life products in a film to create a sense of verisimilitude and using them to promote the product in question. Where that line is drawn is up to each person. One person might see a kid reading “National Geographic” in It’s a Wonderful Life and think it’s quaintly appropriate while another person might find it craven and conspicuous. To the same extent, different film productions have delivered brands with means ranging from the slyness of near-imperceptibility to almost Doritos-Scorchin’-Habanero-Flavor levels of obviousness. It’s far from new, and even though sold items have sneaked their way into movies for almost one hundred years, there’s been an explosion in recent decades, seeing a new revenue stream for studios and a new annoyance for film fans.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a wild summer romp disguised as a prestige flick. We toss together some of the news that your brain needs to hold most tightly to for fear of losing it forever. Do you dare know what can’t be unknown? Since it’s going to be a bizarre (fiercely sexual) post tonight, we start off with the innocent pleasure of shoes. Custom painted movie shoes to be specific. For full disclosure, yes, PeregrinePaints over at Etsy is a friend of the site, but who cares? Her stuff is very cool, the work speaks for itself, and you can dictate exactly what you want painted on your kicks. Not a bad deal, especially for the super-fan who can’t understand why Nike hasn’t produced as an official El Topo sneaker yet.

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There’s no real reason to even write an intro here. Chances are if you saw Super 8 already it made you strangely hungry for Reese’s Pieces. This story about an alien whose face was designed to look like Albert Einstein and Carl Sandburg gave birth to a pug (not a joke) is beyond iconic. It’s even literally iconic in the fact that its main image has become the symbol of Amblin entertainment. We may not have a trailer for Night Skies, but we’ve got one for E.T. If Poltergeist represented the dark side of suburban life, this represented the (incredibly frightening) lighter side.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as MrSmith1939 and 2BorNot2B in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two daydream the ultimate reboot – an entire era of filmmaking brought back to life through the lens of modern directors. What styles should we bring back and homage? It is a good idea to let nostalgia drive us artistically? Will people in 30 years be harkening back to the Abramsian style?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Paul is an alien from outer space who likes to moon people, use his invisibility powers to show up randomly naked, and laugh just like Seth Rogen. There’s a new trailer for the film out today, and even though it says nothing about the exact quest the alien and his new spaced-out friends (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) are going on, it’s still a shiny example of some solid comedy. Plus, there’s at least three major science fiction film references just in the trailer alone.

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There have already been a surprising number of modern sequels and remakes made from the movies of 1982. Films like The Thing and Conan The Barbarian have remakes coming down the pipe while the Rocky franchise has been continued, and The Dark Crystal and Mad Max franchises have both been promised a latter-day continuation. There’s a lot of rich material there, and this weekend sees Tron: Legacy come out almost three decades after the film it’s following. Of course TRON deserves a sequel because of its large cult appeal and the potential expansiveness that the universe always held. However, there are several other films from 1982 that may even be more worthy to get the way-too-late-in-the-game sequel treatment. Here’s six of ‘em.

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We’ve taken you behind the scenes of Cowboys & Aliens and into the mind of director Jon Favreau, and today we dig deeper into the films that the filmmakers talked most about during the set visit. Cowboys & Aliens may be the only Steven Spielberg film that Steven Spielberg isn’t directing. From the conversations I shared with Jon Favreau and co-screenwriter Bob Orci on the set of the film, a select group of movies kept returning to the fold as titles that had a lot to do with the shaping of tone and storytelling. A theme quickly emerged. While Executive Producer Steven Spielberg was busy inviting the filmmakers to private screenings of new prints of The Searchers, the filmmakers were drawing on their childhood love of Amblin and the films of Spielberg himself. Still, even though it lacks diversity in the directorial column, this is one seriously formidable list of inspirational films.

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An Irish-American named Sean Thornton (John Wayne) leaves his broken boxing life behind for Ireland to take back his family farm, he meets and falls for Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara).

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It’s okay to admit you cry once in a while guys. As long as you beat a gorilla to death immediately afterward, you can still be considered manly. Luckily, there’s a few flicks out there that let us cry at will – here’s ten of ‘em.

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