Red State

CLERKS 2

Now that we’re past the point of established Hollywood talents going to fans for funding projects, is it only a matter of time before Kevin Smith reaches out to his cult following via Kickstarter? Not quite yet, and maybe he never will. Talking to Kim Masters on the KRCW radio program The Business, Smith admitted, “I love the idea and I want to do it so desperately, but I think I’ve missed the window based on the fact that I do have access to materials, I do have access to money.” Let’s not forget that Smith was almost a pioneer of feature film crowdfunding three years ago when he looked into the idea of fan-based financing for Red State, a creative departure for the director and one that even his friends at The Weinstein Co. weren’t interested in. Of course, the idea of him crowdfunding was blown out of proportion and the possibility was met with great disapproval on the web, not unlike what occurred more recently with Zach Braff’s campaign. One website in particular called Smith a “beggar,” which hit the filmmaker deep. He commented on that to Masters: The moment I saw that I froze. That high school part of me, the last vestiges of high school that said, “Oh, I care what other people think about me,” seized me… And, I can’t even remember the name of the website or the person that wrote it, but I do remember that it was the last moment of my life […]

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By now everyone knows that after his upcoming two-part hockey flick Hit Somebody, Kevin Smith is done making movies. If Red State is any indication, the time’s right for his exit. Smith’s Westboro Baptist Church-inspired horror-thriller has been making headlines since his ill-fated fake auction following January’s Sundance premiere. He’s taken it on the road, showing it to packed houses across North America. It played a week at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. The filmmaker’s tweeted about it incessantly. Now, it’s on DVD. And it’s still really, really bad, a simplistic, poorly-constructed exercise in low-rent genre moviemaking. It’s as if Smith made the movie just so he could promote it. Horny Midwestern teens (Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner and Nicholas Braun) sneak away one school night to have sex with an older woman they’ve met online. Turns out the woman, Sara (Melissa Leo), is the daughter of the psychotic fringe preacher Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) and Abin really, really doesn’t like fornicating.

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This Week in DVD

Let’s just get this out of the way right now. You probably won’t agree with my placement of one or more of the three films in the AVOID section below. And that’s okay. If you like an actor or filmmaker behind one of the films then definitely check it out for yourself. Just know that they’re not good movies. All three of them actually came close to joining the RENT category but for every one thing that worked ten others failed miserably. The directors behind them (Jake Kasdan, Kevin Smith, Chris Weitz) have made far better films in the past, and they’ll probably go on to make more going forward. But these are their bumps in the road, and they should probably be saved for cable. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Aftershock China’s Tangshan earthquake killed 240,000 people in 1976, and from that disaster comes this affecting and emotionally powerful tale of loss, guilt, and forgiveness. A building collapse traps two twins, a boy and a girl, beneath a concrete slab. Saving one means killing the other, and their mother is forced with making a heart-wrenching choice… “Save my son.” Unbeknownst to her though, the little girl survives and never forget her mother’s words. Now thirty years later a second earthquake draws that adult daughter back to China to help the victims and confront the mother who left her for dead. The film skips what would have been a couple […]

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Boiling Point

It’s October and that means one thing in Hollywood: not releasing horror movies. It’s become sort of a yearly tradition for me to bitch about the lack of horror movies released in the month of Halloween and so far, Hollywood hasn’t yet disappointed in disappointing me. People love Halloween, they love scary movies, and they love combining the two. During the month of October, more people than ever are interested in seeing scary flicks and having fun in a theater. You can look at positively mediocre movies, like most of the Saw franchise, Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies, and Paranormal Activity, that are released in October and make oodles of money — money they wouldn’t make at any other time. It’s sort of like when poker started appearing on television, everyone started buying poker sets. Poker movies started coming out. SyFy Channel and The Asylum make a living off of making rip-off movies that play around the release of huge movies, when people are most interested in that subject. If only there were a way to know when people would be interested in what…

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What is Movie News After Dark? It certainly is not a nightly movie news column produced in someone’s mother’s basement. However, it is written by a man with a strict no-pants policy. Now please go forth and enjoy tonight’s news with that in the back of your mind. We begin tonight with Chris Evans, Captain America, and some of his costume from The Avengers. Earlier today, Marvel Studios released a teaser for next summer’s big superhero team-up that also includes the final scene from Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s perhaps the scene you’d expect to lead us forward on this path, but if you haven’t seen Cap, then you might want to skip on down to the rest of tonight’s stories.

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This week’s Channel Guide was originally going to be about the season premiere of Entourage, but then this news dropped and I had to re-think that decision. Now, before I go any further (and before I get yelled at for “bad reporting”) I should say that Smith has pointed out that he is only “co-hosting” the show… but just like REGIS & Kelly, who do you think people are going to tune in for? Now, onto the news. First came the announcement that two of Smith’s podcasting cohorts, Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson, were going to be creating a Pawn Stars style reality show set in Smith’s comic book shop and it’s going to be called Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. It will air on AMC should it get picked up. Smith also began talking at length on his daily radio show about a “secret project over the hill” that was taking place in addition to the reality show. However, unlike the AMC project, he has been VERY tight lipped about the details (granted, he didn’t spill anything about the AMC bit until a casting call was put out from the production company), until now.

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Kevin Smith made a splash at the most recent Sundance Film Festival by holding a mock auction for his horror film Red State, buying the distribution rights himself, and then taking the movie on a tour around the country. The whole thing was some sort of statement about the inflated budgets films have to accrue in order to get distribution and advertising, and an experiment as to whether or not a filmmaker could turn a profit by just distributing a movie themselves. Smith took his reel of the film from theater to theater, screening it and holding Q&As afterward, and charging the people who showed up a premium for the service. That’s fine for Smith’s loyal fanbase, but what about the rest of us who might just have a passing interest in checking out the movie and aren’t willing to pay a hefty ticket price for the experience of seeing it with the director in the room? Now we’ve got an option coming our way as well.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column that brings down the Hammer of Thor upon you with a spectacle of lightning, news and think pieces from around the web. And not just once in a while, but every single night (except for Saturdays). Time to kick your week off right with news, news and Doctor Who… There is something curious about the timing of the first round of Thor reviews to hit the web. Knowing Paramount, their publicity team was very calculated in lifting the embargo on a select number of reviewers. They are good at massaging the buzz like that. That said, I trust Drew McWeeney at HitFix, and he seems rather positive on the film. That’s promising. There are also some balanced takes found via this Cinema Blend round-up, as well as an equally impressive and balanced reaction from Peter Sciretta at /Film. Take it one of two ways: the expectations bar is being set low for a big surprise, or it’s being set low to lessen the blow of the film being a lame duck. It could still go either way. We’ll let you know for sure when we review it.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, champion foosball player Kevin Smith joins us for the most sobering, introspective interview the man has given all week. Jokes aside, no topic is out of bounds, so we ask the tough questions about Sundance theatrics, taking Red State out on his own, his animosity toward critics, and retiring from filmmaking (but not from storytelling). If you’re a Smith fan, you’re probably already clicking Play. If you’re one of the people that lost some respect for the man during the past year, his appearance here will do a lot to earn it back. No, we don’t find time to review Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, but we do dig in for 105 minutes on the state of distribution, the future of his own films, and how it ties in to his past. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Little-known indie filmmaker Kevin Smith is headed to Reject Radio this Sunday (10pm EST/7pm PST/ 4am Geneva Time) to talk about his Sundance experience, the horror and non-horror of Red State, and answer the tough questions about his rejection of critics (asked by a movie critic). Is he taking a real gamble by releasing the movie himself? What’s his plan post-retirement? Why does he love Laser Disc so much? What did he learn from Cop Out? What the hell made him so mad at the press? Does he have any beard maintenance tips? Join us, and while you wait on the edge of our seat, check out our episode on the career of Busby Berkeley (which we’re sure all Kevin Smith fans will fall right in love with).

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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The Week That Was

With every week that passes, it feels like things just keep getting better and better around here. It’s becoming increasingly easy to put this very column together. New writers and very soon, we’ll have some new columns to tout. There’s a reason why the tagline “The Cure for the Common Movie Blog” now graces our homepage. Because if we’re anything around here, it’s uncommon. And you can find out why with the links that I’ve strategically placed after the jump. It’s all part of a little game I like to call The Week That Was.

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‪Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as ClairesKneeFan and THXForAllTheFish1138 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two finally manage to answer last week’s question while reveling in the continuation of Sundance and the totally old revolutionary model of distribution that Kevin Smith wants the world to take note of. But instead of wasting more internet words on Smith, the question is far simpler and far too high concept to attempt without some Sandlot references: Is the movie distribution system really broken?

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Bryan King did something that, by my estimation, is unprecedented in the world of movie fandom. He paid $1,000 for tickets to see Kevin Smith show off his latest effort Red State at Sundance for the first time. The opportunity came when the director decided to auction off two of his personal tickets to Sunday night’s world premiere. When all was said and done, King was in for a cool grand, earning him tickets and a ride on Smith’s tour bus post-screening. In a classy move, Smith donated the money to support the Sundance Institute Labs, which provides a learning environment for future filmmakers. When we heard about all of this, we were immediately interested. Why would someone pay $1,000 for two seats to a movie, even a world premiere? And does that change the experience? Does it give one even higher expectations for the movie? I was genuinely curious as to how the entire ordeal worked out for someone who invested so much into seeing a single film. No matter what the outcome, this would be an interesting side of a story that everyone seems to be talking about. So I reached out to Bryan King and asked if he’d be game for a little post-screening Q&A. Much to my delight, he was ready and willing to tell his story. The following is a brief, but interesting interview with the man who paid $1,000 to watch Kevin Smith’s Red State…

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In this ambitious but failed departure from the guru of fanboys, Kevin Smith meditates on the current philosophical extremism in fundamentalist Christianity and government. What starts out as a possible teen titty movie about three Midwestern kids trying to get laid quickly turns into an American Gothic tale about an extreme right-wing church lead by Pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks in a fearless and ferrous performance) and their biblical battle with portly ATF officer Keane (John Goodman in a hero of the day moment). With recent tragedy in Arizona, the film does take on a timely quality, but never fully develops into the balls-out horror movie Smith promises.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Last night at Sundance, Kevin Smith boldly claimed that he would be revolutionizing the distribution model for movies by using a brand new, century-old method. He’s going to be taking his movie to theaters himself. He’s going to be four-walling Red State. What is four-walling? It’s when a filmmaker rents out the theater that a film will be playing in, keeping the ticket sales for the production while the theater keeps the money made on ten dollar medium popcorn tubs. In a way, with its long history, Smith is tapping back into an ancient business model that had difficulty making traction as a moneymaker in order to shun the studios and their monopoly-like grip on what we see at the multiplex.

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Boiling Point

Is that a provocative headline? I’m not sure. No more provocative than my first assignment from Neil Miller for FSR, “Why Blacks Don’t Deserve the Vote.” Just kidding, that wasn’t my first article, my first article was a review of The Pound Puppies on VHS. But really, that joke may be tasteless. Some people may be upset by it. You may run off and tell your friends not to read this article, or this site. By all means, go ahead and do that. Make sure to link them to the article too. So they can see it first hand. So that one article no one in your social group was going to read is now read by all of them. Do it. The more you send it around, the the more hits it gets and the more hits it gets the more Milk Duds I receive in compensation. There seems to be a bit of controversy over controversy these past weeks. Last week we had Ricky Gervais say some funny and mean things (the best kind of things) and people got upset. This week Judd Apatow stole that idea and said a lot of mean things that were barely funny (being just remakes of Ricky Gervais jokes) about the chubby Brit. We’ve also got some thick headed religious types protesting Red State because of its subject matter (I say only protest it if it sucks, or because Kevin Smith is a douche nozzle) and similar socially conservative people up in […]

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Despite promising a public auction to sell Red State after its screening at Sundance, Kevin Smith instead announced that he was planning all along to release the film himself by four walling it on a national (or as national as demand would allow) tour starting in March. Smith’s condemnation of the studio system’s releasing monopoly rang true, but the self-distribution model has never been a consistent method for making money off movies. Unless you have a built-in, massively loyal fanbase. In fact, you can check out if he’s coming to your town or request that he do so (like your own human Netflix) at Red State‘s official site. Looking into a crystal ball, Kevin Smith is going to succeed here monetarily. Even if he inflates ticket prices, he’s basically selling a Night With Kevin Smith and Red State – promising that fans will be able to see his film and then ask him dumb questions about what Prince smells like or why there wasn’t a giant mechanical spider in Red State. [First Showing]

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