Francois Truffaut

400 Blows

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they hang around Paris with a troubled young man named Antoine who isn’t wearing a red hunting cap. In the #39 (tied) movie on the list, Francois Truffaut delivers a semi-autobiographical tale of misunderstood youth that careens downward toward prison, aided by uncaring authority figures. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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peter_56

It’s not likely that anyone will be seeing 56 Up without first having seen the rest of the Up series. And those who have seen the other seven installments will have a hard time not watching the latest. In that regard, it’s somewhat review-proof. Fortunately, I can still recommend it by way of recommending the entire Up series as a whole, which these days is not difficult to get your hands (or at least your eyes) on. In anticipation of the Montreal release of the film this weekend, Cinema du Parc has been screening the other films, while here in the U.S., all of them are available to stream via Netflix Watch Instantly. The Up documentaries are as significant and necessary as any film series, and it’s one of the few franchises through which you can see characters grow and change over the course of half a century (Germany’s Children of Golzow documentary series is another, while we can dream that Truffaut’s fictional Doinel series could have continued had the filmmaker not died too soon). It began in 1964, not as a planned record of lives or social experiment but as a one-shot special for Granada Television’s World of Action current affairs series. Paul Almond directed the short work, titled Seven Up!, which looked at children aged 7 from around Britain and of varied socio-economic backgrounds to offer a glimpse of those who’ll be running the country in the year 2000. Later, Michael Apted, who was a researcher at Granada […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up article that would like you to know that it’s glad you weren’t Raptured. It loves having you around so that it can share links with you, bring you the latest news and provide you with a few laughs along the way. It didn’t want to see you vanish into thin air and leave the rest of us to fend off apocalyptic chaos. It’s also confused, as all the toilet paper in the Reject HQ bathrooms seems to have disappeared. How does toilet paper get Raptured? I’m always skeptical when small groups of journalists get a very early look at a major studio picture and come out of it with mostly positive things to say. I don’t question their enjoyment of what they saw, but it’s clear that someone is massaging the timing of the message. So when we see reviews starting to pop up for X-Men: First Class, I can’t help but look at them through cynical eyes. That said, I respect the hell out of Drew McWeeney at HitFix and his piece on Matthew Vaughn’s latest calls it ambitious, claiming that the story is tight and focused. That’s worth some consideration. Also, the above art depicts Muppets as X-Men. Brilliant, found via Geekologie.

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Veteran French filmmaker and New Wave-co-founder Claude Chabrol passed away in Paris this morning at the age of 80. Chabrol, like Éric Rohmer who died this past January, wrote for the Cahiers du cinéma film journal in the 1950s before making his own feature films later that decade alongside New Wave contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette. But while Rohmer’s late career slowed down a great deal and Godard’s oscillated between experimentation and obscurity, Chabrol continued to prove himself a particularly prolific filmmaker well after the New Wave’s late 1950s and 1960s heyday.

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Culture Warrior

Last week, the recipients of the Honorary Oscars were announced, the awards ceremony taking place at the Academy Governor’s Awards Dinner on November 13 (an evident pushback from the typical televised reception of the Honorary Oscar at the actual ceremony in the first quarter of the following calendar year). Honorary awards are being given to Veteran actor and senior-senior-citizen Eli Wallach, film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, legendary French New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard, and the Irving G. Thalberg memorial award for excellent producing has been bestowed (to the surprise of no one) to the occasionally brilliant cinematic patriarch and wine magnate Francis Ford Coppola. According to the Academy’s executive director on August 25, attempts were made to contact Godard directly (by phone, fax, and through associates), but to no avail. Unbeknownst to the fact there does indeed exist television and the Internet in Paris, members of the Academy interpreted Godard’s behavior as elusive rather than evasive. Godard has a history of rejecting awards of the honorary or lifetime achievement variety, so until he makes a statement that provides an official stance, it remains likely that Godard will simply and inevitably turn this one down as well. And as well he should.

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The answer to this question, taken literally, is “the love of cinema.” But, of course, nothing (at least, nothing in this column) is ever so simple.

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