San Francisco

Years before Woody Allen became basically the most prolific filmmaker to ever exist, he was making his way through the entertainment industry as a stand-up comedian, so he knows the art of crafting a joke, and he should have a good idea of how to best utilize the talents of those weird weekend warriors who travel from town to town projecting their neuroses onto random strangers in seedy nightclubs. That’s why it is so exciting that it’s just been announced that two of the most successful stand-up comedians of all time have signed on to be a part of his latest film. Woody’s new project doesn’t have a title yet, but what’s known about it is that it’s being filmed in New York and San Francisco over the summer. Also, we now know the names that make up its cast. In a press release put out earlier today ,it was announced that big names like Alec Baldwin and Cate Blanchett made the list, as well as some solid but lesser-known names like Michael Emerson, Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard; but the most interesting part of the casting announcement was the inclusion of comedians Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay.

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Today has been a pretty fantastic day for me in regard to movie-related news. First, I received an incredibly hard to find DVD of one of my favorite films of 2010, Sound of Noise, complete with English subs. Next I got to schedule an evening with friends with the express purpose of exposing them to the joy that is Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (and maybe a little drinking, too). Then I found out I’ll be seeing my most anticipated SXSW film two weeks before SXSW. These are all things you couldn’t care less about. But some news just broke that is sure to please thousands of movie lovers… Austin’s famed Alamo Drafthouse Theaters are branching out to the West coast and opening a theater in San Francisco. There’s no time table yet, and it probably won’t even open it’s doors until late 2013 at the earliest, but sweet Jeebus, this is glorious news!

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I’ve never been much of a fan of prequels. The idea of exploring in depth a series of events which we’re already at least loosely familiar with has always seemed superfluous. Give me an original story, show me what happens next, take the story someplace new… And then 20th Century Fox released X-Men: First Class, which for all its flaws remains a fantastic film and the best comic-book movie of the summer (with Captain America a very close second). It took characters and events whose detailed destinies were already known to us and made them feel fresh, alive, and interesting again. It succeeded so well in fact that I’d prefer to see further X-Men stories with those characters/actors than see a return to the ones who made up the original trilogy. But surely that was a fluke, a rare case of synergy between director, writers, and cast that would not happen again anytime soon. Especially from a studio like Fox. And yet I’m happy to say I was wrong, again. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel of sorts to the classic 1968 Charlton Heston original and gets right just about everything Tim Burton’s 2001 reboot got wrong. It’s smart, thrilling, and challenging entertainment that takes the familiar trope of man’s hubris paired with a story whose outcome is all but inevitable and manages to create an engaging, visually spectacular tale with a very strong human heart… that just happens to be beating beneath one incredibly hairy […]

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Every Sunday in February, Film School Rejects presents a nominee for Best Picture that was made before you were born and tells you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies presents the story of a burning love in the poorly fire-coded Barbary Coast of San Francisco. A beautiful opera singer is given a break and finds herself in the bosom of showgirl life, under the thumb of nightclub owner, and falling in love.

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