Insidious

These things happen like clockwork. Insidious: Chapter 2 cost about $5m to make. This weekend, it grossed more than $41m. And now, precisely one day after that opening weekend, comes the announcement that we’ll be getting an Insidious 3 (it’s probably safe to assume a Chapter 3 subtitle will be attached). Leigh Whannell, writer of the first two Insidious movies, will be back to write screenplay number three, but there’s been no mention of a director so far. Probably because, in a recent interview with Moviefone, Insidious (and Insidious: Chapter 2) director James Wan plainly stated that he is “finished with the horror genre.” So don’t expect him to return to the series, unless major script rewrites turn it into a romantic comedy or an animated movie where talking dogs enter a surf contest.

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blum

Jason Blum must be feeling pretty good about himself right now. This year he has been behind two major box-office hits with The Purge and Insidious: Chapter II (and a minor one with Dark Skies). All three films were made for nickels compared to their grosses. In a time where people are worried about the future prospects of summer blockbusters, Blum has been producing blockbuster results without a 200 million price tag attached. To make Insidious: Chapter II a hit, Blum brought back the original creative team and characters along to expand on the mythology created by the first movie. Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) returns as a man dealing with some side effects from the first film, while director James Wan is back for more as well. Blum believes Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell are key ingredients to the series, and the results speak for themselves. In addition to discussing their involvement in the film, we spoke with Jason Blum about his lucrative business model and how to properly make a sequel:

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trailer the conjuring

Generally it takes a horror movie a chunk of time for it to start being scary. You have to establish a spooky atmosphere, a sense of dread, and then let the tension build to a breaking point before you really start turning the screws on the audience. The new trailer for Saw and Insidious director James Wan’s latest film, The Conjuring, however, proves that this isn’t always necessarily the case. Through the use of a couple of tried and true tricks, like establishing the protagonist’s vulnerability and forcing them to confront the unknown, this little horror movie ad is able to conjure up scares in a mere two-and-a-half minutes. It’s so effective that it practically works on its own as a short film. Check it out after the break:

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Boiling Point

Halloween is nearly upon us and for once I’m not railing against the studio system for a lack of horror in theaters. It seems five years of complaining has finally gotten through to them. Just kidding, they don’t listen to me. But October has been a pretty good year for horror in terms of movies actually being in theaters. In wide release this month we’ll have Sinister, Paranormal Activity 4, and Silent Hill: Revelation. Throw in a couple of limited release titles and this feels like at least quadruple the amount of horror films we normally get. And even if you longed for more horror, you’d only have to turn on the TV. Switch the set on, and it’s more horrific than ever! The Walking Dead! American Horror Story: Asylum! AMC’s programming of monster movies! Well heck, what possibly could I be mad at with this quantity? Why, quality, of course.

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Jump Scare

If you’re anything like me you probably would take a good psychological scarring over some dick in a mask jumping out at you any day of the week – at least when it comes to horror films. Nowadays it seems like the best is behind us when it comes to the genre, and what’s left is less a collection of disturbing concepts and more so the movie equivalent of a carnival spook house. That being said – I do like carnival spook houses – a fleeting scare is good when it’s done right. Sure, in the end these scares don’t hold a candle to say, the end of Rosemary’s Baby, but we can’t deny them either. So that’s what this list is: me sucking it up and admitting that the dick in the mask totally got me. I should tell you that I don’t wish to demerit these films for having jump scares in them; most of them have plenty of psychological scarring as well… take number ten, for example.

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James Wan is back. Leigh Whannell is back. Insidious is back. That loud burst of discordant music you just heard is all part of the plan to scare you out of your seat. The cat that just ran by isn’t part of it; your house is just infested with cats. According to Variety, the green light has been given to Insidious 2 which means a continuation/birth of a horror franchise that genuinely delivered excitement to a big audience. It’s screenwriter Whannell’s goal to have the main players from the first film return. That also means that Whannell has what he and the team assume to be a solid creative idea for the next installment. Last year, producer Jason Blum claimed they wouldn’t move the massive moneymaking beast forward simply for more large checks. Looks like they’re smart enough to do it for the right reasons and to strike when the iron is hot. Now what would spell story success for the sequel?

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As we all sit here at Reject HQ, gathered around an absurdly long, but incredibly imposing, table discussing what to do with the nuclear missiles we just “creatively appropriated” from a breakaway Russian republic, it occurs to us that 2011 was a great year to be bad. For every boring, dopey, goody-good hero that popped up on the silver screen, there was a brilliant, super cool, woefully misunderstood villain doing everything he/she/it could to thwart the zero hero at every turn. So when Supreme Commander #1, better known to the world (and those pesky Avengers so they’ll stop blasting our lair) as Neil Miller, issued an official order (delivered by a specially-trained, fire-breathing, gun-toting alligator who lives in the moat) to construct a supersonic death ray…that assignment went to Kate “Femme Fatale” Erbland. But then I got asked to do this list of the 20 Best Villains of 2011, a decided promotion from my usual position as sinister cocktail-fetcher and cleaner of the diabolical gutters.

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It seems like every year I find myself disappointed in the horror offerings of the preceding twelve months. Especially if you think of widely released theatrical flicks, few of which ever make the lists. If it weren’t for DVDs and VODs, I don’t even know if I could in good conscience pretend that 10 (or 11) horror films were good. That said, I did manage to find some enjoyment in theaters and at home this year, but it wasn’t the easiest task in the world. In a good year, it’ll be hard to eliminate films from the list, but when it comes to horror most years, its scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with a full list. Quickly, in terms of eligibility, I write my lists a little differently than many others – for me, a film has to be widely available in this year, either in theaters or DVD or VOD. So films that only show at festivals generally aren’t eligible for my lists until they’re released on DVD. For example, Ti West’s The Innkeepers has made several lists, but it’s not widely available until 12/30 so most people won’t see it until 2012, so that’s that.

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Boiling Point

Well here we are in the last week of December, coming up on another 365 days of anger at the entertainment industry. In 52 installments, I’ve been upset about a wide range of topics, criticized directors, defended 3D, argued with my peers and said the f-word a whole lot, much to the disappointment of my mother. As a way of saying so long to 2011 and hello to the End of the World as We Know It (aka 2012), I wanted to take a brief look back at the previous year and pull the heaviest themes from Boiling Point and take a look at the recipients of my rage. So take off your shoes, grab a warm cup of cocoa and let’s take this journey together, provided you’re nowhere near me. If by some strange miracle you are near me, put your shoes on, put down my coffee cup and get the fuck out of my house.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: No matter where Josh and Renai run to, they can’t escape the terror pursuing their family. With the horror threatening their son’s life and their sanity, Josh looks into his past and goes to hell and back to search out what has taken residence in his boy.

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This Week in DVD

It’s my birthday this week, and it therefore seems only fitting that the BUY section is overflowing with fantastic and fun titles worth picking up and enjoying with your friends, families, and parole officers. They even represent a pretty good blend of genres with horror (Insidious, [Rec]2), animated kid fare (Rango), and some classics from the silent era (Buster Keaton). Other titles out this week include The Lincoln Lawyer, Arthur, Battle Beyond the Stars and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Buster Keaton: The Short Films 1920-1923 Charlie Chaplin may be the most famous name of the silent film era, but equally beloved and far less controversial is the man behind Cole Abaius’s favorite film, The General. Buster Keaton had a long career both before and after that Civil War-themed classic, and this newly remastered set includes all nineteen of his solo shorts along with a roaring freight train full of extras. The shorts are filled with sharp comedy and incredible physical stunts with some of the best being One Week, The Goat, and Cops. The extras include visual essays, deleted scenes, two additional shorts that see Keaton sharing the screen with the likes of Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Fatty Arbuckle, and newly recorded audio commentary with Keaton himself. Okay, that last one isn’t true, but this is still a brilliant collection.

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The rules vocalized by Notorious BIG regarding the amount of money you have and its direct correlation to the amount of problems you have also applies to movies. It’s no doubt that someone, somewhere is aching to see a sequel to the ridiculously high-grossing Insidious based solely on how much gold it brought into the coffers. Fortunately, producer Jason Blum doesn’t seem too keen on jumping into the deep end just for the sake of cashing in. He had this to say to Shock Til You Drop: “I wouldn’t say we’re not considering it. “There’s no plan, no release date, nothing like that. I think James [Wan] feels the same as Oren [Peli]. Oren was very skeptical about doing a sequel to Paranormal Activity until Michael [Perry] pitched an idea and it made sense. If Leigh [Whannell] comes up with a story that’s inventive and you feel like there’s a story to tell – as opposed to ‘let’s make another movie and make money’ – and he comes up with something James feels is worth making we would do it. And if Leigh doesn’t, we won’t.” Always pleasing to hear. It doesn’t mean that a sequel (if one ever gets made) will be good – it’s not like Paranormal Activity 2 was anything special, and they apparently waited for “an idea” that “made sense.” But, at least it shuns the practice of shoving a sequel into pre-production and setting a release date regardless of whether the creative types want to […]

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The Reject Report

Furious sits alone on a hill underneath a single tree that shades it. Its buddy Fast is out gallivanting around town with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, jacking Supras and drinking Corona like it holds the key to eternal youth, and Furious is sad. That’s okay, Furious, we still like you. And it’s not like Fast Five is going to open huge. It’s not as if we’re looking at another $70+-million opening for a Fast and Furious entry. Fast couldn’t do that without you. Oh, wait, the Rock is in this one, too. Yeah. It probably will. Sorry, Furious. We’ll catch you next time. Maybe.

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Early yesterday, the LA Times blog released quotes from Atlas Shrugged Part 1 writer/producer John Aglialoro which indicated that he was throwing in the towel on making Part 2 and Part 3. The reason, of course, was that the film just didn’t make its money back. Aglialoro spent a reported $10m of his own cash on the production, and a second week drop off hurt the independent flick considerably. The movie has currently only made $3.2m at the box office. It started with an impressive per screen average, but as with other films which zero in on an audience, everyone who wanted to see the movie saw it opening weekend. The numbers dropped, and an expansion was scrapped. Aglialoro very specifically blames critics and what he believes is a collective “fear of Ayn Rand” amongst them for the movie’s failings. So much for personal responsibility. However, it’s his ire and hatred of the critical response that has caused an about-face. Aglialoro now claims that, while he was once defeated, he now stands ready to proceed with making Atlas Shrugged Part 2 and Part 3. Like all misunderstood artists, he should.

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The Reject Report

The birds of Rio and the sugar-infused children were too much for the family crowd headed to see Madea’s latest outing this weekend. Madea’s Big Happy Family had anything but the worst opening for a Tyler Perry film, but it is the lowest opening film of his since 2007. It’s also the lowest of the three in terms of Tyler Perry films with Madea’s name branded on the marquee. That’s not to say Madea’s Big Happy Family had a bad opening. You can’t really scoff at over $25 million, and it isn’t like Rio completely trounced the #2 film. The gap is wide enough that we won’t be analyzing Monday’s official numbers to determine a clear-cut winner, but it’s way too soon to start the Madea retirement rumors. Big Happy Family is sure to be viewed as a success for everyone involved especially Perry who is sure to have another Madea film in the works by, say…oh, what time is it?

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The Reject Report

…for Elephants! But seriously, that’s a lot of possessive apostrophes going on in that title. If I wanted to do a remake of this movie – I could. I have the funds – who would I have to get the rights from? Madea? Tyler Perry? Oprah? There’s a lot of ownage going on in here. Lionsgate is hoping for a lot of ownage at the box office this weekend, too. I know you saw what I did there. That I’m pointing it out is chalked up to arrogance. The elephants, cats, and birds of the world might have something to say about it, but there’s little chance they’ll be able to do anything about it. Let’s see how everything breaks down. That is, if Tyler Perry allows it.

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The Reject Report

Imagine a quiet, two-story house on a dark small-town street. Inside, a group of teens prepare to watch a movie, something scary, something hi-def. They have wealthy parents. As they drink their respective beverages and the FBI warning sits on the screen unobserved, the phone rings. One of the teens answers. On the other end, a high shriek emits, a shriek the other teens hear coming from outside. They go to the window to look, and flying through the air, headed straight for them, is a tropical bird. It has recently been launched from a giant slingshot jutting up out of the front yard. The bird’s target has been set. The teenagers are unsuspecting. Some of them might die this night. They scream, and thus begins this week’s Reject Report, Rio vs. Scream 4.

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The Reject Report

It was really the battle of the two evils this weekend. Unfunny CG Russell Brand vs. Unfunny Russell Brand in a suit. The kids won out, and Hop was able to pull into the #1 spot for the second weekend in a row. Its drop wasn’t all that insignificant, about what was to be expected with there being no counter-programming for family entertainment. I guess kids just don’t have much interest in Helen Mirren these days. Hop was, however, able to pull ahead of its reported $63-million budget with its second weekend take and shed a glimmer of hope for those wanting more adventures starring the Easter Bunny. We can all pray for the best there.

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The Reject Report

Ah, remember Dudley Moore and how funny he was in Arthur with the top hat and the bubbles and slurred speech? What’s that? You know the name, but you’re both under 30 and can’t stand the classics? Warner Brothers is hoping for that, too, as they’ve now remade the film starring Russell Brand. Now they’re hopes rest on it returning an Arthur-sized fortune. That could be very well what happens here, and Brand will probably have his name splashed all over the #1 and #2 movies this weekend. He’ll have some competition from some pothead knights, a pair of adolescents. One is an assassin. The other is a surfer. The surfer might not be much competition, but that pairing would make one hell of a buddy movie.

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Boiling Point

I’m of the belief that you can never go wrong with the classics. Coca-Cola, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pepperoni Pizza, and writing boiling point about how movie goers need to sit down and shut the fuck up. It’s been said a million times and with a million good reasons: a million or more people just won’t sit the fuck down. Or shut the fuck up. Why do I feel the need to revisit this topic? Well, this past Saturday I took some time out of my busy schedule to spend a relaxing evening at the local cinema. Watching Insidious. It’s a pretty solid flick by the way, so maybe you should check it out if you can find a theater that has a crowd far better than mine. Oh, and in case you’re not all that interested in the sit down and shut up talk, stick around anyways – this is a general etiquette class for not being a douche while watching a movie.

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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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