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Hollywood

All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in September 2011, Ashe Cantrell pulls back the curtain on the Hollywood conspiracy machine… You may already be a film industry cynic. Maybe you think Hollywood is a barren wasteland, devoid of creativity and originality. Maybe you’re sick of seeing talented people get ignored and vapid hacks get splashed all over the trades. Maybe you’re tired of 3D everything and having to re-buy your movies every five to ten years. I’m not here to dissuade you of any of that. Hell no, I’m here to make it worse. Get ready, because this is some of the rottenest shit of which the film industry is capable. These are the things so terrible that Hollywood has to cover them up, lest God see their sin and smite them accordingly (and keep various government entities and lawyers off their backs, of course). If you still had any kind thoughts toward Hollywood, I suggest you prepare yourself for crushing disappointment. But first, I’d like to give a very huge shout out and thank you to writers C. Coville and Maxwell Yezpitelok for their help on this article. You guys are great! And now back to the shit storm, already in progress:

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Criterion on Hulu

If you thought you were going to go on a camping trip to your local National Park, to get some solid work done on that tree fort you’re building or to edit all the Russian meteor footage into a totally sweet dubstep mash-up this weekend, you are sadly mistaken, friend. The Criterion Collection has made your plans for you, and they include all of their movies playing for free on Hulu from February 14th-18th. And, no, I’m not at all sure why the Most Popular movies (as seen above) prominently feature female breasts on their DVD covers. By my math, you could watch anywhere from 30-38 movies depending on their individual runtimes and your willingness to pee into a case of plastic bottles you keep by the couch. My suggestion would be to start with Modern Times,  swing over to Diabolique, follow it up with Tokyo Story and then just free-style it for the next 44 hours. After you’re done, join Landon for way-too-in-depth conversations about what you just watched. Happy lost weekend, everyone.

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Culture Warrior

It’s difficult to think that something as definitive of modern-age movie-watching as DVD special features could become a thing of the past, but there are plausible scenarios in which that could happen. DVD and Blu-Ray sales have slowed in the past few years as viewers become more and more accustomed to streaming services as their go-to means of watching movies in the home. However, when viewers streams a film via Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, or Hulu, more often than not, they receive the film itself and nothing else. The attraction for audiences who use streaming services is exclusively the film and the film alone, not the film in conjunction with other supplementary materials that immerse the viewer further into the creation of that film. The film – for the first time since the days of VHS – now speaks for itself. After DVDs first became popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, the value of the DVD could be determined (and often manipulated) by how much material the discs provided for outside the running time of the film. The appeal of buying a DVD of a particular film did not lie in owning the film itself, but having access to that film in connection to a web of information related to it. Documentaries, commentaries, and deleted scenes provided a DVD experience that felt definitive – these discs made available the notion that herein was everything to know and understand about a particular film. The Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy, […]

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Culture Warrior

Last week, Thomas Catan and Amy Schatz of The Wall Street Journal published an article about the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation into whether or not cable companies are manipulating consumers’ access to streaming competitors of television content in order to reduce competition. The investigation’s central question is this: are cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner setting data caps to limit download time, speed, and amount of content in order to stave consumers off from using alternatives like Hulu and Netflix? Furthermore, the DOJ is investigating whether or not selective data limits applied to certain streaming outlets (like the fact that Comcast’s data limits can apply to streaming Hulu, but not Comcast’s own Xfinity services) violates Comcast’s legally-binding oath to not “unreasonably discriminate” against competitors. According to the WSJ, “Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday suggested he had sympathy for those who want to ‘cut the cord’ rather than paying for cable channels they don’t watch. At a Senate hearing, Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) said cable bills are ‘out of control’ and consumers want to watch TV and movies online. Mr. Holder responded, ‘I would be one of those consumers.’” What’s most important about this story for TV consumers is not so much the specific outcomes of this investigation (though that will no doubt have wide-ranging but uncertain implications), but the fact that lawmakers, regulators, and the industry will continue to be forced to recognize new distinctions being made between cable companies, networks, and individual shows as citizens increasingly […]

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Channel Guide - Large

In 2010, after the release of the largely panned Cop Out, Kevin Smith tweeted a short but passionate polemic against movie critics (that most loathsome subsect of the human species who sit up in their ivory towers and pass judgments), writing, “From now on, any flick I’m ever involved with, I conduct screenings thusly: you wanna see it early to review it? Fine: pay like you would if you saw it next week. Like, why am I giving an arbitrary 500 people power over what I do at all, let alone for free [?] Why’s their opinion more valid?” In the interest of full disclosure, I have attended free press screenings, but I still think that Smith’s gripe had merit. Spoilers with Kevin Smith, a new Hulu original series that debuted on the site Monday, is the director’s attempt to fix the “backwards system” that perturbed him so. The web talk show’s mission? As Smith puts it on his blog, “we don’t review movies on Spoilers; we revere them.”

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Back in the late 1990s, you only had two options for discussing movies. You could hang out with friends in the parking lot or late night waffle hut afterward, complaining about nipples on Batman, or you could go online to sites like Aint It Cool and Movie Poop Shoot to give unbridled, anonymous opinions slathered with as much cursing vitriol as you pleased. That’s what the internet has given us. A tool to help social uprisings, and a forum for hiding your identity while calling Joel Schumacher a “douchenozzle.” That wide-ranging usefulness is a thing of beauty, and Kevin Smith is seeking to tap into it with his new show, Spoilers. The set up is simple: Smith will amass a crowd of 50 movie fans to watch a film and then discuss it afterward. Smith will play ringmaster, and members of the opinion-loaded audience will get to share to their heart’s content. In short? It’s the comments section come to life. Of course, that’s not all the show has up its sleeves.

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Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that has been working really hard lately at its other job. So if it gets a little loopy this evening, please cut it some slack. We begin tonight with Keanu Reeves and Chloe Moretz reenacting a scene from Taxi Driver. It’s part of a photo spread in Harper’s Bazaar celebrating the work of Martin Scorsese. Something about this is a little creepy.

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I used to love collecting TV seasons on DVD almost as much as collecting movies on DVD. But what the movie discs always added, things like commentary and behind the scenes docs, the TV discs completely lacked. After season 1, what’s left to say? We know how the show got made, why people got cast as they did, what a pain in the ass it was to get the pilot produced, the re-casting that occurred after the pilot. Extra content was hard to come by. For crying out loud, the most recent season of Dexter’s special features included episodes of other Showtime programs. Those are ads, not bonus features. A movie on DVD is easy. It’s a single thing, the story exists in that movie and that movie alone (usually). I don’t have to pop in the next five discs just to get to episode 22 where I find out that House is still a drug addict or that Jack is still really angry about something. In order to re-watch a TV series, especially a serialized one, I have to re-watch the entire thing. Very few shows exists that I enjoy watching single episodes of. I recently spent the last few weeks selling all my old TV on DVD sets, even the ones I had the complete series for, simply because I wasn’t watching them. As I packaged each one and put it into the mail box, I realized how much money I spent on the set, and how useless of a purchase it really was.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Most of the time it’s a nightly dose of movie news from around the world. Sometimes it feels like a sentient being hell-bent on enslaving humanity. Tonight it’s taking the night off from both quests to celebrate a most favorite holiday in the land of the Reject, April Fools’ Day. There were a great many pranks on the web this year, and we’d like to point out our favorites, movie-related or otherwise. Then we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans Sunday night. We begin tonight with a story from our own home town, Austin, TX, featuring a good friend of the site, critic Scott Weinberg. As you can see in the image above, The Austin Chronicle‘s front page story (and most of the article, for that matter) was about “The Dome,” a city planning solution to completely contain the riff-raff during SXSW. Excellent.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as MichaelBayFan2938 and Sharktopus11 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. Not every movie is on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, but we’re heading down a path that could change the way we watch and own movies. As Robert Lloyd points out at the LA Times, we’ve already got a shifting library of movies at our fingertips, and that might alter our viewing habits. We don’t have to drive to the rental store anymore (for the most part), but we also don’t have to toss down money every single time we make a decision to watch a movie. We can watch as much as we want. Isn’t that a good thing? Check out what we had to say and let us know what you think.

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Back home from my trip to Vegas, I will now begin auctioning off the ownership of Film School Rejects to pay for the incredible debt brought on by my unexpected gambling addiction and legal fees incurred by an incident that I’m not at liberty to talk about yet. My recommendation to all of you: when Charlie Sheen calls and says “lets go on a bender,” you should politely find a way to say no. Alas, here is your weekend ending, week starting edition of News After Dark.

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Netflix and services like it have defined a formative love of cinema for movie fans, but are there severely negative implications for the growing dominance of this increasingly dominant home video distribution model?

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earlyedition-header

Like LL Cool J said, “Don’t call it a comeback. The Early Edition’s been here for weeks.” Or something like that.

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hulu-iphone

It looks as if the folks at Hulu are once again looking for ways to keep me from being productive. Now I might be able to ignore work and watch old episodes of Doogie Howser, M.D. on my iPhone.

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For those of you who missed last night’s Superbowl, let me start by saying that you missed one hell of a game. Secondly, you missed some pretty great commercials wedged uncomfortably between obviously desperate promos for NBC’s Heroes.

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IMDB Video

IMDb.com’s site founder Col Needham said Monday, “Our goal is to show our users every movie and TV show on the Internet for free on IMDb.com.” Needless to say, I can see many of the wandering movie-lovers of the interwebs being down with that.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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