Robert Zemeckis

kingofkong03

Every year, the Sundance Film Festival premieres a bounty of incredible nonfiction film stories. Many of them find distribution and go on to become box office hits and even Oscar nominees. Others attract Hollywood players with a different kind of exposure in mind. The goal with those stories is to acquire the rights to make a whole new narrative feature, sometimes leaving the existing documentary version by the wayside if it isn’t picked up in its own right. This year it’s the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team created in the early 1970s by TV actor Bing Russell and featuring movie star son Kurt Russell on the roster. The doc that tells the story is The Battered Bastards of Baseball. It currently has no deal for distribution, but a remake was announced during the fest to be produced by Justin Lin and possibly scripted and directed by Todd Field, who’d been a batboy for the Mavericks. Another Sundance doc, The Green Prince, about a Palestinian son of a Hamas leader who turns spy for Israel, is also said to be on the remake track. I’m curious to see how quickly those dramatic retelling hit the screen, and I am also anxious to see the development of Robert Zemeckis‘s just-announced 3D redo of Man on Wire starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as famed funambulist Philippe Petit. The latter project is particularly interesting because not too long ago we’d heard Zemeckis was remaking Marwencol. Maybe he’s doing both, and maybe this is the filmmaker’s new thing — or maybe neither will happen at all. READ MORE

read more...

Back to the Future

For those who are fans of the seminal 1985 time travel spectacular Back to the Future, but maybe thought it needed more singing and dancing, today’s your lucky day. Bob Gale, the screenwriter who brought all three films of the Future trilogy to the screen, has announced that he, along with Robert Zemeckis, is bringing a Back to the Future Musical to London’s West End Theater. In the announcement, posted on BTTF.com, Gale said that he and Zemeckis have been working on the musical for over a decade, and have created a show that “captures the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake.” You will give us an Enchantment Under the Sea dance break, Gale. You will give it to us now.

read more...

bttf2truth-1

Contrary to what a dozen or so faulty Facebook memes say, we have not reached the day that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) travel to in Back to the Future: Part II. That won’t happen until next year, on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, to be exact. However, as we look ahead to that day in all of its post-Avengers 2 and pre-Star Wars 7 glory, we can assess what still needs to happen for the 2015 of 1989 to become a reality. Obviously we don’t have hoverboards or Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactors in every kitchen, but revisiting the classic Back to the Future series got me thinking: Is any of the stuff we saw happening yet?

read more...

marwencol miniature

Jeff Malmberg’s 2010 documentary Marwencol is one of the most interesting, immersive nonfiction stories that has been put together in the past few years. If it was just about a guy who was beat so bad by a group of drunk young men that he had to figure out a way to piece his fractured mind back together afterward, it probably would have been interesting enough. If it was just about a grown man who was so good at playing with dolls that the pictures he took of the little scenarios he concocted with them eventually got put into art galleries, it probably would have been interesting enough. But Marwencol combines both these stories and other layers that shouldn’t be given away to create a moviegoing experience that’s sometimes unsettling, often strangely comforting, but always rich. It’s kind of like movie lasagna. The subject of the film is a man named Mark Hogancamp, who was the victim of the aforementioned beating, and who dealt with his trauma by creating and photographing the aforementioned doll world. To be more specific, Hogancamp took the people and places he knew, and he recreated them through the lens of a fictional World War II-era Belgian town called Marwencol that was known for its bounty of friendly hookers, the brutality of its SS raids, and the blue-haired, time traveling witch named Deja Thoris who called it home. All of that sounds pretty weird, right? That’s why Robert Zemeckis thinks it’s the perfect material to tackle […]

read more...

news chaos walking trilogy

The Hunger Games is great and all, but what will we do when the politically tinged adventures of Katniss Everdeen come to a close? Society will need some new plucky teenage hero to rally behind and to spend lots and lots of money on. Keep an eye out for Chaos Walking, as it may just be the next big thing. Coming from a series of YA novels by Patrick Ness, Chaos Walking is your usual teenage-aged fare, with dystopian futures, corrupt politics and a revolt of the masses. But wait a moment before groaning and turning away from yet another YA series- at least Chaos Walking has a neat gimmick. In this particular far-off future, everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts at all times. Neat, right? And what makes things even neater is that Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) will be handling script duties for this project.

read more...

roger rabbit scene we love

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the theatrical release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. An innovative co-production between Walt Disney (via Touchstone Pictures) and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment based on the novel “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” by Gary K. Wolf, the live-action and animation hybrid has already been officially celebrated this year with a commemorative Blu-ray and DVD release hitting stores back in March. But this is the weekend to truly honor both the film and your memory of seeing it for the first time, amazed by the interactions between humans and toons and the mix of real and illustrated props and sets and the idea that you might be turned on by a two-dimensional redhead. Roger Rabbit is not regarded nearly enough these days outside of the reporting of any latest news on its sequel ever actually happening. The Oscar-winning effects don’t astound as much as they did in 1988 (it was one of the first movies I was obsessed with watching specials on how it was made), the title character stopped being a regular and relevant star of theatrical shorts once Pixar came into play (interestingly enough, Toy Story was preceded by a re-release of the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, in place of a canceled original work featuring the character) and most unfortunately even with a special Academy Award recognition for his work as the director of animation here, Richard Willliams has hardly been given his due — though if you’re in Los Angeles later this week […]

read more...

Flight

Flight has without a doubt the best opening scene of any film in Robert Zemeckis‘ career. Granted, that’s due more to the glorious and fully nude form of Nadine Velazquez walking around a motel room while audiences pretend to be watching Denzel Washington than it is to the director’s myriad skills. Eye candy aside though the scene makes a bold and immediate statement that this is not your niece’s typical candy-ass, motion-captured Zemeckis fluff. Instead, this is going to be a return to form for a talented director rediscovering the dramas, moral complexities and adult themes possible with live-action filmmaking. If only someone had shared the plan with the film’s writer. Whip Whitaker (Washington) wakes after an all-nighter with a naked stewardess beside him, finishes off a beer and a line of coke, gets dressed and heads to work. He’s an airline pilot, and his morning flight is full and ready for takeoff. A possible mechanical failure causes a loss of control shortly after they leave the tarmac, but Whitaker’s quick thinking leads to an extraordinary maneuver and a controlled crash landing that results in minimum casualties. He’s immediately hailed as a hero, but when a routine investigation threatens to reveal the condition he was in while flying and send him to jail for life he discovers this is one impending crash he may not be able to control.

read more...

Back to the Future

Robert Zemeckis‘ long awaited return to live action filmmaking hits theaters soon, and in celebration of the fact Harkins Theaters hosted an online poll to find the director’s most popular movie. There was apparently a glitch of some kind… how else can you explain the fact that Used Cars didn’t win in a landslide? Instead the utterly fantastic and timeless Back to the Future was chosen, and tonight, the Harkins Valley Art theater in Tempe AZ is featuring a free screening of the Michael J. Fox comedy classic. The film will be presented via a pristine digital print, and the screening will be followed by a discussion of Zemeckis’ career alongside giveaways of Flight-related merchandise and swag. Check out the complete details below, and if you go make sure to get there early!

read more...

For anyone who has been clamoring for Robert Zemeckis‘s return to live-action, Flight should appease those fans of the director who haven’t embraced his recent motion-capture adventures. This isn’t exactly a triumphant comeback, but with Flight he mostly knows what buttons to push in order to please. It’s a true testament to Denzel Washington‘s performance that the blunt drama doesn’t fall on its face. Washington has major obstacles to overcome in making the character of Whip Whitaker as empathetic as he is. From frame one, Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins unflatteringly show us who this guy is: a bad father, an alcoholic, a coke addict. There is nothing to admire about him, not even his surface level charms, which are best showcased in scenes between Washington and John Goodman.

read more...

Five years ago, it looked as if Robert Zemeckis‘ interests as a technologically forward-thinking filmmaker would just lead him to the continued creation of terrifying motion captured animated films that pose as being “family-friendly” while actually being nightmare-inducing. If Zemeckis’ new bag is just doing live action films that contain the word “flight” in their titles, I’d say that’s a vast improvement over the former. Now THR reports (via ComingSoon) that Zemeckis will help Fox develop their Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw, a true crime drama about the exploits of the teen “Barefoot Bandit,” cult hero and criminal Colton Harris-Moore. Filmmaker David Gordon Green was originally developing the project, but my favorite director who continues to break my heart with every subsequent project has “turned his attentions” to his remake of Suspiria (which, incidentally, will begin shooting next month). Zemeckis has not yet signed on to direct, but is working on this as a “potential directing vehicle.”

read more...

Back to the Future

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Back to the Future (1985) The Plot: 1980s styled Michael J. Fox (see: feathered hair, acid washed jeans, high tops) stars as every-kid Marty McFly who accidentally gets sent back to the 1950s via a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his eccentric cohort, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd, in one of his best scene chewing roles to date.) While going back in time may seem like a cool idea, Marty quickly realizes that altering the past can have serious effects on the future. Finding himself suddenly 30 years in the past, Marty discovers he must keep his now teenage parents’ relationship on track or else he will risk erasing his own future. As Doc would say: “Great Scott!”

read more...

A long, long, loooong time ago, director Robert Zemeckis made live-action films – and good ones, too! Stuff like Back to the Future and Back to the Future Part II and Romancing the Stone and Contact and a whole mess of others (you can even count Who Framed Roger Rabbit, if you want), but he jettisoned that entire portion of his career to pursue performance capture technology. Which is why we have films like The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol – the motion capture stuff of your Uncanny Valley nightmares. But Zemeckis has finally returned to live-action films (rejoice, those of you who hate motion capture as much as I do) with the Denzel Washington-starring Flight. With shades of the real-life “Miracle on the Hudson” story, the mystery thriller sees Washington starring as Whip Whitaker, “a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and what really happened on that plane?” This first trailer won’t tell you the answer to that, but it might make you want to find out for yourself.

read more...

This post is probably not what you think. There are no LOLCats, no Rage Comic stick men bellowing about the superiority of The Dark Knight and Inception. It’s not really a love letter to modernity. But it’s also not Sight & Sound‘s decennial Top Ten List. That prestigious publication has done great work since even before polling critics in 1952 to name the best movies of all time. They’ve recreated the experiment every ten years since (with filmmakers included in 1992), and their 2012 list is due out soon. However, there is certainly overlap. The FSR poll includes only 37 critics (and 4 filmmakers), but we’re young and have moxy, and none of us were even asked by Sight & Sound for our considerable opinion. That’s what’s fascinating here. The films nominated by those invited by S&S have the air of critical and social importance to them. They are, almost all, serious works done by serious filmmakers attempting to make serious statements. This list, by contrast, is the temperature of the online movie community in regards to what movies are the “greatest.” The results might be what you expect. But probably not.

read more...

Culture Warrior

As much as I admire the incomparable films made during the era, New Hollywood (the term referring to innovative, risk-taking films made funded by studios from the mid-60s to the mid-70s) is a title that I find a bit problematic. The words “New Hollywood” better characterize the era that came after what the moniker traditionally refers to. Think about it: if “Old” or “Classical” Hollywood refers to the time period that stretches roughly from 1930 to 1960 when the studios as an industry maintained such an organized and regimented domination over and erasure of any other potential conception over what a film playing in any normal movie theater could be, then if we refer to the time period from roughly 1977 to now “New Hollywood,” the term then appropriately signifies a new manifestation of the old: regimentation, predictability, and limitation of expression. Where Old Hollywood studios would produce dozens of films of the same genre, New Hollywood (as I’m appropriating the term) could acutely describe the studios’ comparably stratified output of sequels, remakes, etc. What we traditionally understand to be New Hollywood was not so much its own monolithic era in Hollywood’s legacy, but a brief, strange, and wonderful lapse between two modes of Hollywood filmmaking that have dominated the industry’s history.

read more...

Over Under - Large

When thinking about which films I consider to be overrated, I keep coming back to two different categories. First there are the art films that get embraced by the movie geek community and praised to high heaven for their crafting, whether they really makes for an exceptional overall movie-going experience or not. And then there are the movies that get overrated by the mainstream. They’re mostly sentimental movies that tug on the heartstrings, with characters that hit low lows, but then achieve some new victory. Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump is definitely the latter. It’s a movie that seems designed solely to make parents and grandparents nod knowingly at historical incidents they remember and then tear up when a sad part rolls around; but they love it for it. Being There was nominated for the Palme d’Or and even won Melvyn Douglas an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor back when it came out, but it’s a movie I never hear mentioned these days. As a matter of fact, other than the little bit of nostalgia that remains for Harold and Maude, I would say that Hal Ashby is a director whose career has been kind of forgotten by my generation of film fans. That’s a shame, because the man did some great work, and this film in particular has one of the last great performances by the legendary Peter Sellers.

read more...

Every year, the National Film Registry announces 25 films that it will toss gently into its vault for safe keeping. This year, they’ve chosen a hell of a list, but (like every year), the movies saved act as a reminder that even in a digital world where it seems unfathomable that we’d lose art, we’re still losing art. The task of actively preserving films is an honorable, laudable one, and it’s in all of our best interests to see movies like these kept safe so that future generations (and those attending Butt-Numb-a-Thon 55) will be able to screen them as they were meant to be seen. So what 25 movies made the cut this year? Let’s explore:

read more...

Man, sometimes these things just write themselves! Paramount Pictures has just sent over what will be Friday’s last gasp casting announcement before we all go home for the weekend and watch Unstoppable or The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 or something similar on a loop because, duh, that’s what weekends are for. And if that’s how you’re spending your weekends, have I got a treat for you! Denzel Washington is set to star in another film about mass transportation! Can we just get that Speed reboot going now, just to round out his resume? Washington will star in Robert Zemeckis’ Flight for Paramount, proving that no one knows how to steer things like Denzel. Written by John Gatins (who most recently penned Real Steel – man, this guy loves technology!), the film will star Washington as “a commercial airline pilot who pulls off a heroic feat of flying in a damaged plane, saving 98 lives on a flight carrying 106 people. While the world begs to embrace him as a true American Hero, the everyman struggles with this label as he is forced to hold up to the scrutiny of an investigation that brings into question his behavior the night before the doomed flight.” So it’s basically the story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger with a hefty dose of self-reflection and probably a bunch of awkward Today Show appearances and likely a big secret reveal round the hour and fiften minute mark? Eh, I could be on board for this one (see what […]

read more...

Ever since Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” got picked up to be adapted into a feature film, there has been a rush to make movies where supernatural elements get inserted into inappropriate places. This is no problem for me as I’m a big fan of both supernatural elements and inserting things into inappropriate places. With “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Grahame-Smith himself moved the venue from classic literature to historical events, and now Legendary Pictures is looking to keep that trend alive with their new film Here There Be Monsters. Legendary CEO Thomas Tull has come up with the concept for the film, and he has hired Brian Helgeland to write the script. Helgeland is the guy who wrote L.A. Confidential, but don’t get too excited because he’s also the guy who wrote the 2010 version of Robin Hood. Whether he’s the right choice for this project or not will remain to be seen. The focus of the film follows around Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones. You know, the guy who said that he had, “not yet begun to fight.” Everyone knows that Jones captained the USS Ranger during his time fighting against the British, but what this film presupposes is that he was also grappling with giant sea monsters at the same time. Revolutionary War naval battles and sea monster wrangling are two concepts that could make two great movies. Smoosh them together and you get some sort of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of a movie. […]

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s usually a rather tame and family friendly nightly column that rounds up all the best and most interesting news and views from the world of film. It’s worth noting, as it doesn’t always lead with headlines about Anne Hathaway’s rear end. It’s usually something Doctor Who or Michael Bay related. Pick your poison, I suppose. This will likely go down as the dumbest lead story I’ve ever run in MNAD, but the Sunday edition works on the conceit that movie news happens over the weekend. Spoiler: movie news doesn’t usually happen over the weekend, so we’re doing our best. Also, do you really have a problem talking about Anne Hathaway’s ass? Apparently the tightness of her costume and aggressiveness of her stunt work on the set of The Dark Knight Rises has given other cast and crew a unique view of her hind-quarters. There’s something news-worthy in that, I’m sure of it.

read more...

Those who scoped out yesterday’s trailer will notice a distinctly Spielbergian feel to this week’s vintage trailers, so hopefully that Amblin logo will be swirling around your head all week. It isn’t present in this teaser, but there’s something about a pair of high top sneakers kicking the tires on a soon-to-be iconic vehicle that makes me giddy. Back to the Future is a rare type of universal movie that’s equal parts entertainment and enlightenment. Plus, it treats time travel extremely well, which is a bonus. We see a lot of teaser trailers these days, but it’s fascinating to look back on this short spot meant only to titillate and recapture some of the thrill that people on the edge of seeing this movie in 1985 would have felt. The only difference is that they have no idea what they’re in for. This trailer is a machine that converts nostalgia into anticipation.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3