Kingdom of Heaven

Ridley Scott on Alien Set

Of the directors we’ve covered in this feature, Ridley Scott might be the most forward. He’s brash an unorthodox, and when speaks, you get the sense that he threw his filter in the trash years ago. At this point, brass buttons are well-deserved. Alien, Blade Runner, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, and a popcorn bucket-full more prove the man’s vision as a storyteller. A movie fan from a young age, Scott first found success as a commercial director. His first flick, The Duelists, was hailed at Cannes but made it to few screens beyond. It was a science fiction journey featuring a seven-member crew woken from stasis to explore a strange signal that made him a major name, and this weekend he dives back into that world with Prometheus. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a bloke from South Shields.

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Writer, now director, William Monahan crafts a unique brand of hard-boiled men. The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter never follows a guy who’s gonna throw-down and flex at any chance he gets. His protagonists are flawed, paradoxical, and in London Boulevard, even kind of feminine. Monahan’s adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel features a sensitive lead with no interest in being a gangster, an antagonist who’s more interested in kissing the Farrell character than killing him, and every other so-called mobster in this film could not be more incompetent. Unlike The Departed, Monahan has written an anti-gangster picture. Here’s what writer-director William Monahan had to say about vulnerable men, the current state of exposition, and why the last shot of The Departed still works, even if you didn’t get it:

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we celebrate April Fool’s Day by talking seriously about great movies, director’s cuts and movies about people cutting other people up. Our very own Criterion Files writer Adam Charles teams up with Criterion Cast co-host Ryan Gallagher to convince me to become a member of the Criterion Cult. Junkfood Cinema specialist Brian Salisbury gets together with Gordon and the Whale editor (and VHS enthusiast) Brian Kelley as we all rejoice in the 25th anniversary of the ridiculous teen slasher flick April Fool’s Day and bathe in the acid bath of a few others. Plus, Jordan Hoffman of UGO and Jeremy Smith from Aint it Cool go mano y mano in our Movie News Pop Quiz in an epic battle to save the world from impending destruction (and to talk about director’s cuts, when they work, and when they don’t). Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as OutofFoucault23 and RockRockRockRocknRollHS in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair digs deeper into a question plaguing all of mankind: can a studio interfering with the artistic process actually create positive results? What happens when a director’s cut is worse than the initial release? They put their heads together to come up with just about every single example (take “single” literally) of a movie saved by studio intervention.

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. With cold and flu season coming up it seems vitally important to ask what movie you always watch whenever you get sick. What’s your “chicken soup movie”? – Denise S.

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Fox ordered Ridley Scott to extract about 40 minutes of footage from his original cut of the film, making the theatrical cut borderline incomprehensible, puny, meaningless, and a box-office bomb. With the additional footage added back in for The Director’s Cut the film transforms into something grand, gorgeous, and significant.

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Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of Lies

A stumbling block for myself as a big, fat American who doesn’t understand all the nuances of Middle Eastern politics is that the movie was often hard to follow.

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