Live Free or Die Hard

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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IntroMacGuffins

First popularized by Hitchcock, Merriam-Webster defines a ‘MacGuffin’ as “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.” Basically it’s the thing that makes the movie go. For example, R2-D2 is considered by George Lucas to be the MacGuffin of the Star Wars films. But what of human MacGuffins? Anyone can be a hostage or damsel in distress, so lets look at some of the less than conventional living beings that have propelled a plot.

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ds die hard 25th

The fifth film in the Die Hard series hits theaters in less than two weeks so it makes sense that 20th Century Fox would want to cash in on the impending excitement with the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection. Sure the first four films have already been released as a set with the same transfers and features, and sure they could have waited until A Good Day to Die Hard makes its way to Blu-ray/DVD this summer to include it… but it’s not like film fans have ever shown an aversion to double or triple-dipping. And cynical commentary aside, I’m one of those fans. The new set includes all four current films as well as over a hundred minutes worth of new special features. The movie discs are essentially unchanged from their previous appearances, but Fox has vastly improved the case by making it a sturdy book-like model that slides into an outer sleeve with discs that slip into waxed sleeves instead of popping onto plastic buttons. It’s  a solid release on the outside, but how does it stack up inside? Keep reading for a look at Fox’s new Die Hard 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection.

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thisweekindiscs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Woodsman and the Rain (UK) A small mountain town in Japan is invaded by a film production crew making a zombie movie, but few of the locals seem all that interested. Katsu (Koji Yakusho), an older lumberjack, takes issue with their presence but soon comes to befriend the inexperienced director. The two men learn from each other This is a sweet and unassuming little film that manages laughs alongside a small amount of light drama. The townspeople’s reaction to the film crew ranges from indifference to awe, and it’s a joy seeing Yakusho in a fun, lightweight role. His enthusiasm once he joins the crew is infectious and clear on his face, and it’s an expression anyone who loves movies has shared more than once. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Deleted scenes, interviews, trailers] *NOTE: This is a UK region 2 release meaning US residents will need a region free player to watch.*

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The Last Stand

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s full fledged return to the big screen in this weekend’s The Last Stand isn’t triumphant by any measure, but it is a pretty fun action film which is all the more impressive considering the star is 65 years of age. Raking in an estimated and meager $6.3 million three-day total, the film was handily out-grossed by Mama, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Gangster Squad, A HAUNTED HOUSE, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, and man the list just keeps on going. I mean, seriously, did you see that A Haunted House, a movie that likely shouldn’t have even gotten a theatrical release, beat out The Last Stand at the movies? That’s disgraceful. I’m glad to see the success of Mama and many of the other films are Awards Season hold-overs, but this weekend should have been one for Arnold to win. If you’re an action film, I’m here to tell you: you’ve got to see action films in theaters or we’re screwed.

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A Good Day to Die Hard Teaser

I don’t think anyone was chomping at the bit for a fifth Die Hard movie. As serviceable as Live Free or Die Hard was, were hordes of Die Hard diehards jacked up about another tame PG-13 sequel? Their average joe hero had just been turned into another superhero, completely forgetting the main appeal of the character. Unfortunately, the first teaser trailer for the fifth installment, A Good Day to Die Hard, doesn’t sell the sequel as a return to the series’ roots. Instead the movie once again features 007, but he just so happens to be from New Jersey. Take a glimpse at John McClane blowing up Russia:

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Boiling Point

No matter what I say below, know this: I will see Shark Night 3D. There are no press screenings, no DVDs mailed to my home. I will head out to a theater to watch it because I love sharks and I love watching people get eaten by them. So to be extra clear: I haven’t seen the film yet. No one has. But still, I’m going to bitch about it, because that’s how I roll. Why? Well, because it’s easy to get mad at this film. It’s rated PG-13. I mean, if there ever was a title for a hard R-rating, it’s Shark Night 3D. After all, Piranha 3D, which was probably instrumental in green lighting this late entry to Shark Week, was well received because of its gore. Its nudity. Its generally over the top nature. Without Jerry O’Connell getting his dick bit off and two hot, naked women swimming for six minutes, that film is a pile of crap. The blood makes it – and the PG-13 rating for Shark Night might break it.

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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. What character do you see yourself the most in? Thanks. – Donald B.

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Boiling Point

This weekend I got my Action Team fix on by watching The Expendables, The Losers, and The A-Team. Yeah, it was a good weekend. With the latter film, I opted for the Extended Cut – usually these things are unrated, as there really isn’t a reason to resubmit the film for ratings approval for DVD. Sure enough, The A-Team case has “UNRATED” printed very clearly across it. Surely this must mean that there will be bodies hitting the floor! Blood! Bad words! Everything that was missing in the theater from a supposed group of badass mercenaries. So I start watching. Pretty soon, within the first 15 minutes of the film, there is the F-Bomb. Three times. Sort of.

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KevinSmith

On the 16th anniversary of the first public screening of Clerks, we get personal with the man, the myth, the lunchbox as he rips his heart off his sleeve and slams it down on the table.

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JacktheGiantKiller

Coming out of hiding, Bryan Singer has signed on for yet another movie. This, of course, means we still have 6 more weeks of winter.

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maggieqpriest

The model who turned into an action star is joining Paul Bettany in the Old West to murder some blood-sucking fiends.

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bp-unrated

Robert Fure goes Unrated in his confusing love/hate relationship with DVDs that dodge the MPAA – and those that could have, but didn’t.

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rambofour_header

I remember a time when sex used to be what sold in Hollywood, it’s not really that way anymore. It’s all about sequels nowadays. Anything the corporate machine can do to propagate a franchise and poke fun at aging actors in roles that may or may not compromise the position they’re in when jumping off buildings, driving backwards through tunnels, or remembering to take their Metamucil.

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Guide to Indiana Jones

With the much anticipated release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull due out this week, we have to ask ourselves this question: Will a fourth installment into the series be welcomed with open arms or met with criticism?

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The PG-13/R Smackdown, Live on Pay-Per-View!

Something has been happening in Hollywood over the past few years, and some people are really getting their noses out of joint about it: PG-13ification of American cinema.

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While I was quite cynical when I heard they were making another Die Hard film, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Live Free or Die Hard.

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post-hitman.jpg

The recent furor over who was in control of the Hitman project and what rating it was going to get brought to light the lengths a studio will go to in order to ensure profitability of a movie.

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