Hugo

The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

read more...

Austin Film Critics Association 2011 Awards

Of all the various critics groups around the country, the one you should care most about is the Austin Film Critics Association. Why? Well, there’s two very solid and in no way biased reasons that I have: One is that Austin is the home base of Film School Rejects, the site you’re currently reading. And reason two is that yours truly is a member of said association, as is fellow Reject columnist Brian Salisbury. You may also recognize various friends of the site and past Reject Radio guests on the membership roster, including GordonandtheWhale.com founder Chase Whale, FearNet’s Scott Weinberg, Ain’t It Cool’s Eric Vespe, Movies.com’s Peter Hall and more. It’s a pretty impressive group, even if you take my membership into consideration. The other, perhaps less spoken reason, is that the AFCA is a group that won’t hesitate to buck the trends set by their big brother and sister organizations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. They were the ones that called The Dark Knight the best of 2008, led the charge on The Hurt Locker as best pic of 2009 and resisted temptation in 2010, calling out Black Swan as the top film instead of going with everyone else who named The Social Network king. It’s a critics group that knows its stuff. And in 2011, they’ve chosen to honor Martin Scorsese’s Hugo as best pic, but awarded a great number of awards to fan favorites like Drive and Attack the Block. See the full press release just after the jump.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

read more...

This year has brought us back to classic filmmaking from the silent film era with The Artist to the fantasy adventure Hugo, which recalled classic film moments (as The Film Stage rounded up here). The New York Times has even gotten in on the classical score action, drawing on booming horns and frenetic strings to help create horror and unease in their portraits of various actors’ impressions of classic film villains. It is an almost surprising turn in a year that awarded Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s electronic influenced score for The Social Network the Oscar for Original Score and saw electronic duos The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx creating the scores for Hanna and Attack the Block, respectively. Film scoring seemed to be going the way of the electric guitar, swapping out full orchestrations for synthesizers, but as 2011 comes to a close, it seems classic orchestration is not on its way out just yet. Full orchestrations of horns, drums, strings, and wind instruments filled theaters in films like The Artist and Hugo, taking us back to a time when live orchestras would play along with films. Their electronic counterparts tend to turn up the volume (who wasn’t rattled when Reznor and Karen O’s booming “Immigrant Song” in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s teaser trailer came on screen?) while classical scores are able to gain that same power from the sheer number of instruments called upon and layered together. Both work to draw an emotional reaction out of […]

read more...

The Reject Report

And you all slept through it, didn’t you? It’s okay. I mean, it’s not THAT big of a surprise, really. We knew the latest Twilight outing would be strong competition for anyone, even those lovable Muppets.What surprised me was how much The Muppets dropped here in only its second weekend out. While other family fare were coming in with drops under 40%, The Muppets ended up being the biggest drop of all the top 10 films and only pulled another $11m domestically. Evidently most parents wanting to relive their childhood and bring their kids along with them already hit the film up last weekend while stuffed with Thanksgiving dinner. Not many of them came back for a second helping.

read more...

The Reject Report

It’s a rare weekend we’re looking at here. Coming off the big Thanksgiving weekend, we have no new movies opening in wide release. The only new films coming out are in limited, and only one of those is really worth mentioning. So let’s do that right now, shall we? There’s been a lot said about Shame, mostly about what Michael Fassbender brings to the table. Director Steve McQueen required the film to remain…um…uncut from potential buyers, and, thankfully, that’s how the film remains. Of course, that means it’s not getting much of a release here, only nine screen across the nation, but that’s to be expected for this type of Oscar hopeful, art-house flick. Our very own Kate Erbland called Shame “beautiful” and “deeply personal”, and that’s pretty much what most critics are saying about it. Expect a lot of critical acclaim and Oscar nominations for Shame when that time comes. Right now, however, the film won’t be making much of a splash at the box office.

read more...

Hugo

It is day four of awards season, and already some names are growing wearyingly familiar, and even the surprises don’t quite pop like they used to. On Monday evening, the Gothams announced their annual awards, followed swiftly by the Film Independent Spirit nominations announcement and the NYFCC’s winners, but director Martin Scorsese and his latest film, Hugo, were without some big awards love – until now. The National Board of Review has announced their best-of picks for the year, and Hugo has topped out as Best Film, with Scorsese grabbing Best Director. As the film opened just last week, here’s hoping that this NBR endorsement will pump up somewhat lackluster box office returns. Paired with a weekend box office free of new major releases, and maybe Hugo can swing up to the top of the heap. As for the rest of the Board’s awards, there’s a bevy of names here that already seem like old hat – picks like Christopher Plummer for Beginners and The Artist, The Descendants, and The Tree of Life as a “top” films for the year – but there are still a few eyebrow-raisers, as our friends over at /Film note, J.C. Chandor picking up another award for his debut, Margin Call, continues to be surprising. Where is Sean Durkin and his own Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene? And J. Edgar as one of the year’s best? And a Breakthrough to Felicity Jones and Rooney Mara, but no Elizabeth Olsen? Bizarre, really. But there are […]

read more...

Movie News: Justified Returns

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that doesn’t mess around. If it tells you to leave town or else it will shoot you on the spot, then you’d better believe that it will shoot you on the spot. Lucky for you, it would never ask you to leave town. All it asks is that you come back and read on a nightly basis. Or else. We open tonight with a bit of news for your boob tube. FX has set dates for the return of Justified and Archer, two favorite shows of mine. Both are coming back in January. They’ve also given the green light to an animated comedy called Unsupervised, which features the likes of Justin Long, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Romany Malco, Kaitlin Olson and Alexa Vega. It’s about teens who are forced to navigate through life without parental supervision. Either way, did I mention that Justified is coming back? Walton Goggins, man…

read more...

Culture Warrior

The self-reflexive practices of the meta-film take various forms. On the one hand, there’s the legacy of cinephilic directors from Brian De Palma to P. T. Anderson to Robert Rodriguez who shout out to specific films through their in-crowd referencing, or even go so far as to structure entire narratives through tributes to cinema’s past. Then there’s “the wink,” those film’s, like this weekend’s The Muppets, who exercise cheeky humor by breaking the fourth wall and by constant reference to the fact that they are in a heavily constructed film reality. The third category is less common, but perhaps the most interesting. There has been a recent influx of films that don’t use past films to construct present narratives or engage in Brecht-light humor, but have as their central narrative concern the broad developmental history of the medium itself, from practices of filmgoing to particularities of projection, and anything in between. Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is a good example of this mode of meta-filmmaking, but more high-profile films have begin to make this turn, specifically by directors who formerly operated in the first (and perhaps most common) category, like Tarantino with Inglourious Basterds two years ago. Now Martin Scorsese has followed suit with the 3D love letter to early cinema and film preservation that is Hugo.

read more...

The Reject Report

Out of all the family movies that were marketed towards reuniting families across America this weekend, and it’s the Twilight movie that came out on top once again. I can’t say I’m shocked, though. Only in its second weekend, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 dropped 69.8% from three-day weekend to three-day weekend. But its take last weekend was so huge that hardly any film could compete with it, even with such a massive drop. That level of drop wasn’t a shocker, either, seeing as how New Moon dropped 70% upon its release in November of 2009. As it stands, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is still in third place among overall domestic gross for the Twilight franchise, ahead of the first film and about $80m away from either New Moon or Eclipse. With a reported budget of $110 – nearly double the cost of Eclipse, the second most expensive film in the series – you would think Summit Entertainment is thankful that the series is headed towards its end. Still, you have to look at worldwide box office, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is running smoothly with $488.8m overall. It’s still a solid investment, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will only be putting more and more dollars in Summit’s coffers. The Muppets had fine footing over the weekend, too, even better when you factor in their 5-day total. It’s not quite the $65.2m The Muppet Movie pulled in total domestic in 1979. Of course, with inflation adjustment, The Muppet […]

read more...

President Obama and Bill Murray

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a silly little thing. Just a thing that some people read. Nothing special, really, just the world’s foremost late-night independent movie news and editorial round-up. You know, the usual. We begin tonight with a picture of President Obama and Bill Murray meeting at the Towson v. Oregon State basketball game this past weekend. I wonder if the Prez got a chance to grill him about all the recent Ghostbusters 3 rumors. We’ve already submitted a formal inquiry to the White House, with no response as of time of our publishing deadline.

read more...

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets his grading done early because school is off for the rest of the week. With three family movies opening in theaters for the Thanksgiving weekend, Kevin tries to keep things respectable. Reliving his childhood, he sings and dances his way into the theater for the revival of The Muppets, then takes a serious look at 3D and avant-garde filmmaking with Martin Scorsese’s latest film Hugo. Finally, he bundles up and heads to the North Pole on a search for Santa and his family, knowing it has to be exactly like it is depicted in Arthur Christmas. Movies don’t lie, after all, do they?

read more...

It’s hard to overstate just how amazing it is to consider a big-budget, major studio-produced 3D family adventure centered on Georges Méliès. Before now, the work of the early cinematic innovator, whose movies (most famously 1903’s A Trip to the Moon) revolutionized and advanced special effects, has been relegated to film history texts and brief snippets of televised specials. If there’s one filmmaker to make Méliès matter again, to introduce him to a mass audience, it’s Martin Scorsese. After all, the Oscar-winning legend is not just one of the foremost cinematic masters, as a noted film preservationist, he’s among the chief protectors of the long, glorious and frequently threatened legacy of the motion picture. In Hugo, Scorsese transforms the trappings of a 3D holiday picture into a loving tribute to Méliès and the earliest masters of the cinematic dream factory. From the structure of its narrative, to the details of its plot, and the industrialized nature of its majestic visuals, this is a film infused with the joy and wonder of movies. Set amid the glittering magic of Paris in the early 1930s, the film follows 12-year-old orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who secretly lives in a train station. Hugo, who winds the station’s clocks, dwells inside a labyrinthine interior comprised of enormous grinding gears, rising steam currents, and other elaborate metallic concoctions. Among the latter is a non-functioning automaton brought home by Hugo’s late father (Jude Law), which the young man works on incessantly in the hope that he can bring […]

read more...

It’s likely going to be a very happy holiday season for the Butterfield family, as rising star Asa Butterfield is already lining up his next big starring role even before his biggest project hits screens. Butterfield leads Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo this Thanksgiving in the title role, based on Brian Selznick‘s book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” and it looks like the young star is next jumping to another massively anticipated adaptation. With Hugo already pulling in positive reviews (particularly from dyed-in-the-wool cinephiles), it’s no surprise that the young star is already book further heavy-hitting roles. Deadline Bondville reports that Butterfield has been offered yet another titular role in a book-to-film adaptation, that of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin in Gavin Hood‘s upcoming big screen Ender’s Game, his take on Orson Scott Card‘s sci-fi classic. Card’s character first appeared in a short story in 1977, which went on to spawn the 1985 book (which this film is based on), along with a continued series that now consists of eleven books (with at least two more planned). Can we say “sequels”? Ender’s Game already has a March 15, 2013 release date set, so Summit Entertainment is not resting on their laurels with their potential next-big-thing franchise.

read more...

The film world has recently experienced a bit of a backlash against 3D movies. Not only have film writers of all sorts repeatedly harped on what a needless gimmick adding a third dimension to an already perfectly fine two-dimensional image is, but regular moviegoers have been using their dollars to vote against the format as well, with more and more 3D pictures seeing less income coming from their 3D screenings and more from their standard two-dimensional screenings. Whether that means audiences are tired of the 3D gimmick itself, or if they’re just tired of paying the premium to see a movie in 3D over 2D is up for debate, but the end result is the same: it looks like the latest 3D fad is on its way out. There are a couple of very vocal and very influential supporters of 3D technology in the movie world, however, and they’re not going to go down without a fight. Perhaps most famously, Avatar director James Cameron is a huge proponent of filming things in 3D, so much so that he’s developed a lot of the technology that makes new techniques possible. He’s even gone so far as to predict that everything we watch in the future will be filmed in 3D, all the time, and that any needed 2D versions will just be extracted from the original 3D copy. That’s a pretty bold stance, but he’s not alone. Director of the upcoming 3D family film Hugo, and Hollywood legend, Martin Scorsese, has […]

read more...

Last month the Oscar season officially kicked off, and this month we’ll be getting plenty more Oscar baiters and real contenders to add to the mix. We’ll get another Brett Ratner film, the 25th film of the decade from Clint Eastwood, another upbeat audience friendly film from Lars von Trier, and the most expected and clichéd, a Martin Scorsese “kids” film. A fairly promising month, right? I’ve already seen a few films coming out this month, and there’s plenty of good-to-great films to see, even one or two that didn’t make it on this list. Honorable Mentions: My Week with Marilyn (an extremely enjoyable film with a great performance by Kenneth Branagh), Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, and London Boulevard (a solid anti-cliché gangster film). But here are the names who made it all the way to the top ten:

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the roughest, toughest, meanest movie news column around. It also owns one of those silly shirts and smokes cigars. Of that, you can be sure. We begin our newsy journey tonight with a photo of three f*ckin’ guys you might have heard of on the set of The Expendables 2, proving once and for all that witty banter, big scarfs and an awful flowered shirt will be part of the highly anticipated testostisequel. All I can think is… someone needs to get to dat choppa!

read more...

It’s fascinating that the director of Taxi Driver is the man who put this together. Martin Scorsese once again shows his versatility by tackling Hugo, an adaptation of the popular children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Interestingly, it look like he’s channeling Chris Columbus here with a healthy dose of Lemony Snicket. Yes, it looks fun and silly, but this trailer makes it look a bit too childish (and features far, far too much of Sacha Baron Cohen falling down and smashing into things Kevin James-style).

read more...
  PREVIOUS PAGE
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.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
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