Hysteria

Fifty Shades of Grey

Denigrate Fifty Shades of Grey all you want. Call it smut; argue that those who read it are “at increased risk of engaging in binge drinking and having multiple sex partners.” Decry it, for as a piece of Twilight fan-fiction that (as a series) spent 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, it’s literal masturbation material being eaten up to a mass audience. Go ahead and say it right now, if you’d like (I’ll probably agree with you). But for all the flack thrown Fifty Shades‘ way, there’s something curiously admirable about it. Not necessarily to do with the movie, but with its marketing: how a few brave souls have been tasked with repackaging cut-and-paste Twilight fan porn into something appropriate for a prime-time TV spot. To that, a new trailer for Fifty Shades dropped last week. It’s steamy, but also weirdly cold and emotionless. It tells us explicitly that this is a movie about people doin’ it with whips and chains, but doesn’t deign to show us much whipping or chaining. On its own, that sounds pretty on the ball for a Fifty Shades movie. But what if we broaden the context? How do other sex movies — that is, films explicitly about sex, with porking as a central plot point — pitch themselves to potential viewers? Well, let’s dig back through the years and find out.

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Culture Warrior

It’s nothing new to say that the term “independent filmmaking” has come to no longer reference the actual practice of making films outside the studio system, and alerts more directly to an aesthetic of hipness. That the cute-and-quirky consecutive multi-Oscar nominees Little Miss Sunshine and Juno were similarly marketed by Fox Searchlight as “independent films” despite the fact that the former was actually produced independently and the latter was funded by studio dollars, effectively put the nail in the coffin for actual independent filmmaking to have any meaningful visibility. Meanwhile, first-time directors who make their name at Sundance like Marc Webb, Doug Liman, and Seth Gordon quickly reveal themselves to be aspiring directors-for-hire rather than anti-Hollywood renegades. Tom DiCillo, Hal Hartley, and Jim Jarmusch seem ever more like naïve, idealist relics each passing year. It’s clear what the blurring of the lines between independence and studio filmmaking has meant for the mainstream: as my friend and colleague Josh Coonrod pointed out last week, it renders “platform release” synonymous with “independent,” it means that movies featuring Bradley Cooper and Bruce Willis are the top competitors at the “Independent” Spirit Awards (see the John Cassavetes Award for actual independents), and it means that Quentin Tarantino is, for some reason, still considered an independent filmmaker. American independent filmmaking has lost its ideological reason for being. But when it comes to films that are actually independently financed – films for whom the moniker is less an appeal toward cultural capital and more an accurate […]

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This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering! When you think about the invention of the vibrator (and I bet you think about that a lot, you naughty minx), you probably don’t quite picture that particular apparatus being invented during one of the most straight-laced periods in modern history – the Victorian era. Yet, that’s exactly when the electro-mechanical vibrator was invented, thanks to the vision of one open-minded doctor. In Tanya Wexler‘s Hysteria, the director fictionalizes up some of the story, using the charming Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal for some sexiness, and the result is a forward-thinking and very entertaining film. To get your motors running, we’re giving away one (1) copy of Hysteria on DVD and one (1) copy of Hysteria on Blu-ray. It’s worth moaning about, that’s for sure. Winners will be chosen randomly (including which version our two winners will each receive). The home video release of Hysteria also includes some fun extras, like deleted scenes, commentary with Wexler, and a featurette on “The Technology of Orgasm.” Zing! To win one (1) copy of Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria on DVD or Blu-ray, all you have to do is jump down into the comments section and let us know the title of your favorite sex comedy (because, at its heart, Hysteria is quite funny). Please also provide your email address in your comment. This contest is only open to U.S. residents. The contest will close on Friday, September 28th, at 6:00PM PST. The winner will be chosen at random to receive one copy […]

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! I hope you’ve been saving your pennies because there are tons of fantastic releases worth buying today. All three (or so) Indiana Jones movies finally make their Blu-ray debut, genre fans get one of the year’s best horror films (The Cabin In the Woods) as well as Scream Factory’s stellar Blus of two Halloween classics, David Fincher fanatics will rejoice at Criterion’s release of The Game and my favorite film from 2011 hits DVD as my Pick of the Week. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Oslo August 31st Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is out on leave from drug rehab for the purpose of a job interview, but it’s a job he knows he’ll never hold. Instead he visits an old friend, touches base with his family, searches for an old flame and fights the urge to kill himself. This Norwegian drama finds both heartache and vitality in its story and in its lead character, and Danielsen Lie makes it all so palpable and affecting. That said, there’s also an undeniable desire for life here that struggles against his depression with desperate intensity. Make no mistake, Anders is sadness incarnate, but he’s also a man at a crossroads with a decision before him that you can’t turn away from. Check out my full review.

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Depending on who you ask 2012 is either on target to be a great year for movies or an underwhelming one. It’s worth noting though that anyone who answers with the latter is a complete and utter tool. There have already been several fantastic movies in theaters over the past six and a half months including The Grey, The Avengers, The Raid: Redemption, 21 Jump Street, The Cabin In the Woods, Moonrise Kingdom and more. In addition to being fantastic entertainment though, most of those movies also had studio support to increase awareness and help make them big hits. As for The Raid and Cabin, well, you can’t say the internet didn’t do its damnedest to get the word out on just how awesome they are. Not our fault if American moviegoers didn’t listen… But a third group of great movies exists this year too. Ones that had little to no push from studios or distributors, a minimal presence on movie blogs and a near negligible presence at the box-office. The year’s only half over, but we wanted to share our choices for the best movies you’ve most likely missed this year…so far.

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Movie News: Brian De Palma

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that has been returned to the hands of its rightful owner, for now. But before we get to my triumphant return after a week of vegging out and eating BBQ, lets give a round of applause to Nathan Adams, Luke Mullen, Kate Erbland, Kevin Carr and Robert Fure, who did a wonderful job last week during guest week. I don’t know about you, but I lizzed a few times while reading their work. Lets hope that I can bring the same verve to this week’s return. We begin, of course, with naughty bits… Several new images from Brian De Palma’s Passion this past week, courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival. That includes the above image, depicting a very devious, scantily clad Rachel McAdams burning a hole in my heart of hearts. It’s the eyes that do it. And the stockings. Definitely the stockings.

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Despite being trapped in the constricted 1880’s, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) is a forward-thinker, a believer in germ theory (can you imagine a time when doctors chalked the existence of germs up to a theory?), meaning that he doesn’t fit in with his counterparts at London’s many hospitals, which is why he’s been fired from just about all of them. Desperate for a position – any kind of position – the good doctor lands an assistant job at Dr. Robert Dalrymple’s (Jonathan Pryce) clinic, working for the rich and popular doctor who specializes in something very, very unique: the treatment of female hysteria. Traditionally speaking, “hysteria” was used as a blanket term of any kind of lady trouble for centuries, with the term originating in 4th century BCE. Hysteria was seen as a particular scourge on ladies in the Victorian era – “the plague of our time” – and was believed to effect half of the female population. Dalrymple eases his patients by way of a procedure referred to as “pelvic massage.” You can guess what “pelvic massage” really was. No, really, you can. There’s a picture up top and everything.

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Earlier this week, our own Cole Abaius announced the first wave of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival‘s film lineup. That assault was impressive enough, complete with lots of compelling picks in the World Narrative Feature Competition, World Documentary Feature Competition
, and Viewpoints sections, but today’s release of the final feature film sections is a whole other volley of firepower. With today’s announcement of their Spotlight, Cinemania, Special Screenings, and the 2012 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, the fest has completed their feature announcements – and made me start to wonder if I should try to hit Gotham for the festival, running April 18 – 29. Picks that stand out to me already include the delightful 2 Days in New York, Chicken With Plums, Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey, The Giant Mechanical Man, Headshot, Lola Versus, Take This Waltz, Your Sister’s Sister, and Sleepless Night. Check out the full list of films (along with Tribeca-provided synopses) after the break.

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There’s a solid chance that you haven’t heard of most of these movies. Yet they exist – out there somewhere as a thorn in the side of movie fans trying to see as much as possible. Nuggets of potential waiting to be picked up from the movie orphanage by a distributor and given a warm home with cup holders in every seat. The European Film Market is fascinating for that reason and for the way people attend it. Tickets this year were around $600, but that’s a reasonable price for companies sending representatives trying to find the next moneymaker for their company or the hot movie to bring to their festival. That means screenings come complete with people on cell phones and unimpressed buyers walking out after ten minutes to hustle next door to see if the other movie playing has any promise to it. It’s a bizarre way to watch movies, but it makes a kind of sense given the massive size of the movie list compared to the tiny amount of time to see everything. There were upwards of 675 movies in the EFM this year, all of them with their own selling points. Here are the 87 most interesting-sounding with descriptions found in the official catalog. For the most part, I haven’t seen these movies (and didn’t even know about many of them until the Berlin Film Festival), but they all have something going for them that should earn them a spot on your radar.

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As the temperatures turn just the slightest bit colder and the fall colors settle in the landscape (if you’re lucky enough to live near trees), we should start directing our film focus to the fall movie season. We love summer for its mind-numbing fun, but the last season of the year tends to offer some of the most vulnerable, honest, and captivating films (you know, just in time for that other “big O”). Fall supplies films meant to scandalize our minds and even our naughty bits, and there is nothing wrong with that. But with so many films and film festivals to choose from between now and December, it becomes overwhelming to sort through all the goodness being dispensed our way. Lucky for you, my love of highlighting full-frontal male nudity and questionable sexual conduct happens to pay off for a change. Below you’ll find a helpful collection of five sultry features sure to stimulate your brain and your nethers.

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Stop groaning at that headline and start moaning along with this clever, mildly silly trailer for Hysteria. Based on the historical invention of the vibrator, the film boasts Felicity Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce and a bunch of women shaking their thighs in ecstasy. Seriously. There are a lot of shots of women coming in this thing. Beyond that, it has the usual flair that any period piece might aspire to. The costuming, the set work, the language. It’s all there along with some cheeky humor and what looks like a romantic foundation the focuses on taming a shrew. Plug in, and check it out for yourself:

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With the Toronto International Film Festival mere weeks away, cinephiles everywhere are prepping to ship off to America’s hat for ten days of films and fun, all fueled by bagged milk and and trademark Canadian politeness. TIFF has already established itself as North America’s premiere film festival (duking it out with Sundance for top billing), but this year, the festival’s programmers have truly outdone themselves when it comes to putting together a drool-worthy schedule. This year’s TIFF has already announced the bulk of their lineup, including The Ides of March and Moneyball and their documentary and genre picks, but they now round out their programming with some final and spectacular picks.

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After months and months of racking my brain over it, a film project has finally pointed out what was missing from He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day: a bunch of women climaxing and the invention of the vibrator. Thankfully, Maggie Gyllenhaal has signed on for just such a romantic comedy project where she’ll play daughter to a doctor (Jonathan Pryce) who helps insane, crazed, hysterical (read: slightly irritated) women of the sexy Victorian age by placing a vibrating massage tool where their Victorian’s Secret should cover. Uncover the details of Hysteria.

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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