Fantasia

IntroPreHistoric

The great thing about prehistory is that you can speculate pretty much any old hogwash about it. Sure – science has given us a reasonably educated guess, but when has science ever stopped us from making shit up? Who’s to say that dinosaurs didn’t talk, or that mankind wasn’t created by a super-species of cat-like beings? That would certainly explain their sense of entitlement. The film industry knows what’s up, and has given us some great depictions of pre-life over the years. Some are unique in their beauty and/or accuracy, while others are just downright silly. Both are great, so let’s celebrate 9 creative ways to look at the world before we came to be.

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What often defines me as a writer, much to the chagrin of certain members of the intellectual old guard, is that I approach bargain basement genre films with the same enthusiasm and critical eye as I would something from Godard, Bergman, or Kurosawa. There is merit to be found in almost any film, and where there is not–even when judged within distinctive criteria–is when a movie has truly failed. This passion for all things celluloid, for a wider palate of films that would have someone more traditionally academic than myself expectorating with disdain, appears to be one of the core principles upon which the Fantasia Film Fest was founded. This year, the Montreal-based festival’s sixteenth in existence, Fantasia opted to construct an event that perfectly encapsulates this love for obscure cinema and packages it in the most artistically adept fashion possible. Dave Alexander, editor-in-chief of Rue Morgue magazine, assembled a bloody handful of some of Canada’s most notable genre filmmakers and paired them with a cadre of the nation’s top illustrators/designers to bring us If They Came From Within. This gallery featured a host of incredible posters, and even a few props, that supposed an entire alternate history of Canadian genre films. It was like walking through an exhibit of awe-inspiring drive-in art from a museum, and more to the point a drive-in, that never existed. The names culled to help conceive of these bloodcurdling and beautiful works of art should be eerily familiar to readers of this site. Names […]

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A Little Bit Zombie

Steve and Tina are about to get married, a prospect that gravely disturbs Steve’s sister who–in addition to being married to Steve’s best friend–thinks Tina is as right for him as an angry hornet’s nest is for a family picnic. Much in that same vein, Steve thinks it wise to take the quartet to the family cabin for the weekend so everyone can learn to play nice. Adding to the incredibly tense proceedings is a mosquito who managed to feed on a walking corpse a few miles over. You see, a pair of expert zombie hunters were just wrapping up the last loose ends of an undead carnival when the pesky insect sneaked a bite and made his way over to the cabin. The mosquito bites Steve several times, and soon he begins showing the classic tell-tale signs of zombism. But can this nice-guy zombie be cured?

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Culture Warrior

I’m not a parent, but I know that you’re a bad one. You know why? Because you probably took your kids to see Cars 2 this weekend. I know what you’re thinking: “What’s wrong with Cars 2, it’s just a harmless little kids movie.” Well, it’s destroying America with it’s anti-oil message, indoctrinating our children to become Prius-buying, David Simon-worshipping tree huggers so the late-term-aborting hippie liberals at Pixar can do their part in carrying out Hollywood’s takeover of family values. You’re probably thinking, “But Landon, children typically don’t understand subtext. And when children grow up in a free democratic society such as ours they often question for themselves the values and ideas they were exposed to as children and eventually adopt a perspective that makes the most sense to them, thus making your use of ‘indoctrination’ hyperbolic and short-sighted. Anyway, even if they did understand what Pixar was doing, children don’t give a ratatouille’s ass about politics, the free market, offshore drilling, or our over-reliance on fossil fuels. They just want to watch a movie about talking cars. Also, being a child of the late 80s/early 90s, you grow up with a lot of environmentally-aware children’s entertainment like Jim Henson’s TV show Dinosaurs and movies like FernGully and The Brave Little Toaster, yet those didn’t inform your political perspective in either direction just as they didn’t make you think dinosaurs wore clothes and acted like the cast of All in the Family.” That would all be fine and dandy […]

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You’d think my walk home from Rango, a movie that consistently kept me laughing like a madman for two hours, would be one of elation and knee-slapping fun memories. Not so. As my laughter subsided, I realized — man, I just saw an animated movie that centered on a sociopathic lizard who takes a contemplative, hallucinatory look inward to discover his true calling in the world. Whoa – suddenly that fart joke had a lot more resonance. There are universal questions everyone asks themselves at some point in their lives. Ideas, complications, internal debates that spring out of existence and challenge us as individuals. Some turn to spirituality. Others take back packing trips through difficult-to-pronounce regions of the world. But after watching Rango and looking back through a lengthy history of Hollywood’s animated films, I wondered: why not turn to cartoons?

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Everyday, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer delivers all the thrills and chills you could possibly get from cartoon ostriches, hippos, and centaurettes (whatever they may be) dancing around to classical music. 1940 was the year that this leaped off the stages of Broadway and onto the big screen with as many enchanted mop slaves as you could hope for. Think you know what it is? Check out the trailer after the jump.

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This Week in DVD

This week sees a first in the history of the column… at least I think it’s a first. Not only are there no new DVDs worth buying this week, but there are also none worth avoiding. It’s an all rental week here at the West Coast offices of FSR! That may be because this is a fairly light week of releases in general which is odd considering the proximity to Christmas, but just because the pickings are slim doesn’t mean they’re not worth watching. The DVD pick of the week is the surprisingly funny, dirty, and sweet romantic comedy Going the Distance. You shamefully missed in theaters… but now have a second chance to watch in the comfort of your own home and in the arms of someone you love to play with naked. Also out this week? Part three of the emotionally vacant Twilight series, Eclipse! Nicolas Cage playing with his wand in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice! Tom Cruise in Knight and Day, the better than expected action comedy with worse than expected CGI! Two documentaries about Walt Disney that both avoid the subject of cryogenics! And more!

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This Week in Blu-ray

As we gather for our first post-Black Friday, post-Cyber Monday, post-Turkducken day edition of This Week in Blu-ray, it isn’t very hard to see that most studios decided to take a bye week. Universal saw fit to release two Ben Stiller comedies, and not very well. Disney is bringing Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel to the party, as willy wizards surrounded by some of the more interesting effects work we’ve seen all year. They also took time to bring a truly beautiful animated musical (or two) to Blu-ray for the first time. Also, Rob Hunter stops by to recommend a movie with “kill” in the title, which is never a bad thing. All things considered, it may not be the most robust week of Blu-ray releases, but there are certainly some interesting twists and turns.

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Culture Warrior

Synesthesia (syn-es-the-sia, Brit. syn-aes-the-sia): “The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.” Synesthesia is a neurological disorder in which the experience of one sense motivates an involuntary association with another sense. Those who experience synesthesia, known as synesthetes, are able to either perceive letters or numbers as inherently colored, hear movement, or – in probably the best-known cases of the disorder – see music in the form of colors and/or associative shapes. Now, cognitive sciences seem, on the surface, to have little to do with the study of cinema, but the topic of synesthesia can be particularly helpful in understanding the way in which we interpret the interaction of the two senses most available in watching movies: the aural and the visual.

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The Week That Was

Every Saturday, I abuse my power as Publisher of this website to pick and choose the best content from the past week. This week, it’s all about Inception. With Christopher Nolan’s latest in theaters, the halls of FSR were buzzing with coverage from the junket, chats with the composer and a milestone: our first A+ grade of the year. But wait! There’s more to the story this week. As we go around the horn, we check in with Rob Hunter’s fetish for the weirdest films of the world, we get ready for Comic-Con and we’re not exactly sold on David Fincher’s Facebook movie. This and more in The Week That Was…

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr celebrates the summer tent pole season with Christopher Nolan’s Inception, eager to watch the movie again and fall asleep just to see what happens. He also takes his kids to see The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and shows some love for Disney’s family adventures, even if they are a bit silly.

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This week sees the release of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which has absolutely nothing to do with Mickey Mouse tooling around with his wizard master’s magic spells to create a flood inside their home office caused by anthropomorphic brooms. Actually, it has partially something to do with that (for a few minutes) and the phrase “wizard master” sounds like Mickey is in the KKK. For that, I apologize. However, when I made fun of the idea of taking something like a short from Fantasia and changing it so egregiously in order to make a live-action, feature length film, Rob Hunter scoffed at my lack of vision and asked me if I could do better. I explained to him that I didn’t want to, because it was the bastardization that seemed lacking in creativity, but he was drunk on vegan rum, didn’t understand what I was saying, and wouldn’t stop hitting me with his Mac and Me DVD until I agreed to take on the challenge. What challenge? To take other Fantasia shorts and turn them into feature length films. If it sounds like a bad idea, that’s because it is.

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oam-fantasia

In 1938, Walt Disney made the incredibly foolish decision to try to increase the waning popularity of Mickey Mouse instead of making a commercial viable short cartoon. This is the result.

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Disney has announced that they’re going Blu-ray on our asses, bringing their platinum standard over to the new format with some quite impressive improvements.

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Classic 3D Cinema

What if the studios had stepped in and mandated that certain projects be 3D. FSR wondered aloud and we came up with 10 films that could’ve, nay, should’ve been made in vivid 3D.

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