Rope

Rope Poster Hitchcock

The most brilliant trick of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rope is that it takes place in real time. The second most brilliant trick is that co-star John Dall looks unnervingly like a 1940s era Jason Sudeikis. The result is that, in addition to being the textbook example of a bottle thriller, there’s a sense of incredible magic contained in how the film was made. The same way we marvel at the Cuaron/Lubezki artistry of That Scene from Children of Men, Rope elicits its own brand of awe thanks to Hitchcock, DPs William Skall and Joseph Valentine, and editor William Ziegler. Fortunately, Vashi Nedomansky has compiled a video of the 10 hidden edits in the film (for everyone interested in knowing how the lady is sawed in half) and written an accompanying exploration of the simple, clever techniques.

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The Last Supper

Hey there pilgrims! Got a delicious new list guaranteed to knock the stuffing right out of you! Feast your eyes and gobble down six fictional dinner parties that you should give thanks you didn’t attend! Turkey! Okay enough pandering. It’s Thanksgiving – let’s move on. I do have to admit that it is in the spirit of the holiday that I chose to talk about these films themselves and not how they were made or anything like that – sometimes when you spend all your time thinking about what goes into a film it’s easy to forget what you love about them in the first place. So for this reason here is a straight up list of the best, most delightfully intense and entertaining movies surrounding dinner parties. After all, what’s a good group meal without a little sex, mystery, and of course, fowl play. I couldn’t resist that last pun.

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Last week’s discussion on the sex appeal of animated characters sparked a little offline controversy. Why did we forget to include sexy villains in our list, when everyone knows they can be just as mouthwatering? Now we could spend an entire novel talking about the awkward crushes we have on certain animated villains, just as we could in the opposite direction, however I’m more interested in the modern rejection of Hollywood’s traditional “uglying up” the bad guy. See, this is where movies have always lost me. A true villain, one who is charming, relies on henchmen, and has a bevy of beauties would never be a disgusting, rotted, warted-up mess. In fact, no matter how determined a villain is to get his or her way, their tinge of crazy (read: psychotic levels) often makes them more attractive to those sharing screen time.  This is probably why you feel the need to shower after watching anything starring Vincent Cassel. But recently mainstream films have taken a page out of the indie playbook and started making their villains just a touch more delicious. Movies.com’s Jenni Miller wrote earlier this week about the sexification of the rapist in next month’s Straw Dogs remake. She discusses her discomfort with the film’s marketing decision to highlight the sexiness of the gang of deviants and how the film’s “down home” feel will get lost with such good looking villains. I have to disagree. Although Alexander Skarsgard (Charlie) has made a career of playing a hot Viking […]

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Criterion Files

Every week in October, Criterion Files will be bringing you a horror movie from the archives of classic cinema or the hallways of the arthouse. This week’s entry takes a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s Hollywood debut, Rebecca (1940). While some would argue (and by “some” I mean Cole Abaius) that Hitchcock only made two films that could uncontestably be identified as horror – Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) – Rebecca is an interesting point of inception for themes covered throughout the auteur’s American career and is a film that engages in literary forms of the horror genre. Especially when seen as a ghost story.

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AlfredHitchcock

To movie critics (including myself): yer doin’ it wrong.

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