Historical Fiction

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Blood Creek, as it turns out, is an incredibly popular spot for duels. Also, coordinating different duels was pretty confounding, and there were a shit ton of them back in the day. This short from Leo Burton layers chaos upon poetically insulting language and manages to build a strong, funny story out of what could have easily been a 5-minute sketch. Instead of toying with one odd concept, it toys with 2 or 3 to create something truly special. Plus, it’s aided by great camera work and the star of the show – a boisterous, rousing old-timey score. Oh, and talk about a finish. Genius. Pure genius. What will it cost? Only 14 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Movies We Love

Around the year 480 BC, an historical battle between a group of Greek city-states and a bullying Persian army began in a mountain pass of Thermopylae (literally translated to “Hot Gateway”). This epic war saw the Greeks vastly outnumbered by the self-appointed god-king Xerxes, who had spent years overthrowing other city-states to build up his human reserve. See, Xerxes is a classy king. He likes to send messengers to each threatening city-state, offering to spare the citizens in exchange for the allegiance to him. Well, when his trusty foot soldier ventured into Sparta, a town known for their militaristic nature and tough, no-bull-shit attitude, their refusal to join up with Xerxes was never heard. Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) all but told the offending Persians to fuck off and kicked them into a deep hole. Just like Helena before him, this kick ignited the fury of both the Greeks and Persians. Leonidas organizes 300 of Sparta’s best men to fight off Xerxes’ army, each man wanting the glory of dying in battle to defend their great city. While they’re out getting all hot and sweaty in just tiny pairs of war shorts, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) remains in Sparta trying to drum up support of the Spartan council to ready troops for war only to prove just how fierce Spartan women are when she’s threatened, assaulted, and almost killed by Theron (Dominic West), a senator more interested in power than glory. Two stories diverge in the course of Zach Snyder’s […]

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Coming off of one Western that adds in some seriously fictional elements into the Old West, Harrison Ford is set to play Wyatt Earp in a Western set in 1920s New York City. There’s something truly genius about that, and it continues a new trend in Hollywood where genres are blended and classic icons are thrown into other notable environments. Call it the Gallery 1988 Effect. That mash-up effect is being used for Black Hats, an adaptation of the Max Collins historical fiction novel which sees an aging Wyatt Earp working as a detective in Los Angeles who heads to New York City to help out Doc Holliday’s son get out of some messy business with Al Capone. This just sounds cool as hell. Especially considering that it was a fictional biography of Earp written by Stuart Lake that made him famous in the first place, he’s this great icon that stands with one foot in reality and one foot in fantasy to begin with. Taking him to a hard-boiled New York City is a great idea, and Harrison Ford bringing him to life is an even better one. [THR]

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with Troll Hunter writer/director Andre Ovredal, Prom screenwriter Katie Wech, and The Conspirator screenwriter James Solomon. Perhaps you’re starting to see a theme emerge. Plus, Dustin Rowles and Joanna Robinson from Pajiba enter the Movie News Pop Quiz ring, and both safely exit. Then, we talk about Doctor Who. Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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As China’s filmmaking profile rises, so does director Zhang Yimou’s. The veteran of over two decades has a considerable number of solid films under his belt, including the action flicks Hero and House of Flying Daggers. His base, however, is in drama, and with movies like Raise the Red Lantern, it’s clear that he’s got a formidable skill. That skill will meet halfway around the world with Christian Bale now that Bale has signed on for Zhang’s next project – Nanjing Heroes. The film focuses on the massacre of 1937 where Japanese military killed thousands of Chinese citizens, and Bale is set to play an American man of the cloth who helps save a considerable amount of lives. With the film split between English and Mandarin, it’s unclear where the bulk of the story will be told, but it also signifies the slow growth of China’s presence as a filmmaker for the world. With Zhang and the production jumping into the ocean to the tune of $90 million, this marks the most expensive movie in the country’s history, and the Bale connection delivers a famous name recognized in countries beyond US shores. On a tangent, now that MGM has financing funds, their Red Dawn – the film about a Communist Chinese invasion on US soil – might see the light of day. With any luck, these films will be released on the same weekend to make cultural trend spotting that much easier.[THR]

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Now that Fox has officially retracted its position that Vampires Suck, it finds itself free to do business with the second-most famous vampire hunter of all time. As all school-aged children know, Abraham Lincoln was not only a great president, he was also a cold killer when it came to the blood-fueled undead. Now, that story will finally see the big screen. Fox would do well to check out my dreamcasting for the project in a recent Print to Projector entry, but with Tim Burton producing, 3 or 4 of the roles have probably already been mentally cast. I’ll give you a few guesses.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith “The boy had been crouched so long that his legs had fallen asleep beneath him – but he dared not move now.” Synopsis A young boy named Abraham suffers the grizzly frontier life of the early 19th century and is devastated by the loss of his mother. After finding out that she was killed by a vampire, he makes it his life’s work to hunt down the blood-thirsty monsters and cut off their giant-canine-tooth-stuffed heads with his axe. And to become President at some point. And free the slaves. And keep the union together.

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A while back I wrote a Print to Projector entry about “Carter Beats the Devil,” which lead to author Glen David Gold informing me that there was new life to the adaptation and that Warners was going to buy the rights. Now, we’re fortunately seeing the next step being taken. It may seem small, but in a world where nothing is certain, it’s nice to see a few names get hired to get the ball point pen rolling.

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Captain William Bligh has his ship taken over in the most famous mutiny in history. What happens next involves 18 men in a boat built for 10, a small amount of provisions, and the entire Pacific ocean.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how “Carter Beats The Devil” needs to be adapted. Now it might be. Coincidence? Of course it is. But it’s still great news.

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I know there’s already a list of historically inaccurate films featuring Braveheart and 300 online (they’re here too), but here’s a few more you might not have thought of. Who am I kidding? You’ve thought of them. You’re pretty clever.

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