Scream 4

Scream 4 couldn’t have been an easy film to make. Rumored production issues aside — and the fact that movies are just hard to make in general – Wes Craven had to reignite a post-modern franchise after an eleven-year absence. What happened during all those years? Homages, rip offs, and more self-loving meta horror films. The Scream films have influenced many horror installments over the past decade, so what genre trope is left to make a snarky comment on? Not many. Besides that, being meta in itself is a gigantic hurdle to overcome. For one, there’s often a certain degree of smugness that’s attached to that type of tone. Watching a film that goes all, “Look how smart and clever we are!” is like listening to an annoying know-it-all. And, more often than not, those type of films become exactly what they were making fun of. Self-referential can easily turn into self-parody, as Wes Craven mentions below. Here’s what he had to say about carefully deconstructing the genre, his young filmmaker sensibility versus his older one, and more:

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Drinking Games

This past spring, Wes Craven brought the Scream franchise back to life with the fourth installment in the trilogy. (That works, doesn’t it?) This time, instead of an homage to horror movies, or an homage to horror movies within a horror movie, Craven serves up a movie within a movie homage to horror movies within a movie. It gets a bit complicated, so you’ll want to relax when you watch it and not try to figure it all out. Cheers! Today, Scream 4 (or SCRE4M, to the cool cats) is available on DVD and Blu-ray, hot off the heels of Craven announcing he’s planning a fifth and sixth movie. Now with four movies available at home, you can enjoy a Scream-a-thon with drinking at this party.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to FSR’s first DVD column for October 2011! There are lots of interesting titles hitting shelves today including two third or fourth generation sequels that surprise by being far more entertaining than anyone expected them to be. In addition to Scream 4 and Fast Five several smaller films are coming out too including the giallo-inspired art film Amer, Zach Braff’s indie drama The High Cost of Living, the sweetly comic UK coming of age film Submarine, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Buck Buck Brannaman has a special appreciation for the equine species that helps him understand and communicate with horses and their owners. He’s been labeled a real life “horse whisperer” and even assisted Robert Redford on his film of the same name, but his life wasn’t always a success story. This documentary takes a man and a subject so purely American and finds real heart, pain, and inspiration in the tale. All of it is engaging, but the bit towards the end about a damaged and violent colt is suspenseful and heartbreaking.

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The general rule of sequels is that they become less exciting and original as they continue. Each successive film copies from its predecessor and often ends up a pale copy. Wes Craven’s Scream series is no exception as parts two and three were both far lesser films than the original. Still, they each had bits that worked. Needless to say, when plans for a fourth film were announced a decade after Scream 3 very few people were excited at the prospect. And then Scream 4 ended up being the best Scream since the original. My full review is here, but the bottom line is that the movie is “funny, fresh, and wonderfully bloody, and it finds that delicate balance between horror and comedy that the last entry missed entirely.” Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson (who also wrote the original) have pulled off something special here with the help of a fantastically entertaining cast. (Second best ensemble of the year behind Horrible Bosses!) The lead trio returns, but they’re joined by several recognizable faces who help add personality, comedic timing, and sex appeal (thank you Hayden Panettiere). It’s a lot of fun, and fans of the series who passed on it in theaters should definitely give it a watch on DVD or Blu-ray. Speaking of DVD… Scream 4 hits shelves on Tuesday, October 4th, and we’re giving one away to a lucky winner! Keep reading for your chance to win.

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The Reject Report

The birds of Rio and the sugar-infused children were too much for the family crowd headed to see Madea’s latest outing this weekend. Madea’s Big Happy Family had anything but the worst opening for a Tyler Perry film, but it is the lowest opening film of his since 2007. It’s also the lowest of the three in terms of Tyler Perry films with Madea’s name branded on the marquee. That’s not to say Madea’s Big Happy Family had a bad opening. You can’t really scoff at over $25 million, and it isn’t like Rio completely trounced the #2 film. The gap is wide enough that we won’t be analyzing Monday’s official numbers to determine a clear-cut winner, but it’s way too soon to start the Madea retirement rumors. Big Happy Family is sure to be viewed as a success for everyone involved especially Perry who is sure to have another Madea film in the works by, say…oh, what time is it?

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The Reject Report

…for Elephants! But seriously, that’s a lot of possessive apostrophes going on in that title. If I wanted to do a remake of this movie – I could. I have the funds – who would I have to get the rights from? Madea? Tyler Perry? Oprah? There’s a lot of ownage going on in here. Lionsgate is hoping for a lot of ownage at the box office this weekend, too. I know you saw what I did there. That I’m pointing it out is chalked up to arrogance. The elephants, cats, and birds of the world might have something to say about it, but there’s little chance they’ll be able to do anything about it. Let’s see how everything breaks down. That is, if Tyler Perry allows it.

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It started with a conversation I was having with my friend Robert about Salo. You’d be surprised how many ideas for articles arise from discussing this film. Not so many dinner plans, though. Makes sense for a film subtitled 120 Days of Sodom. Anyway, being avid film lovers, we agreed Salo was a film we were glad we had seen despite the inability to ever be able to “unwatch” it. We love film, and we love the notion we could sit through and appreciate a movie like Salo despite the graphic imagery therein. This spiraled the conversation into other films that our desensitized minds could handle, films we could observe from a film-lover or even a critical perspective even though they had imagery that could not be unseen. An hour later, we had disgusted ourselves to the point of seppuku, we went our merry separate ways, but a lingering idea was stuck in my head. Amidst all the onerous images I had conjured back into my mind from years and years of watching whatever whenever, a nugget of a question remained. It was basically this: As a film connoisseur, can you desensitize yourself for the sake of cinematic appreciation?

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The Reject Report

It’s a time for celebration in the world of animated film. Maybe not dress-up-in-your-favorite-gold-costume-or-mask celebration. We’re not throwing a lavish parade or anything, but an audible “hip hip hooray” might be in order if you’re a fan of computer animation. Rio, the latest such film from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox, came out wings blazing this weekend and easily topped the box office with the biggest opening so far in 2011. The $40 million the film brought in isn’t a record for the studio, though. It didn’t even top the $45 million Horton Hears a Who brought the studio in 2008. However, given Rio‘s worldwide box office thus far – $128.2 million in additional revenue outside the US – the film is well on its way to being a huge success. Plenty of money for the company to bring us another Ice Age film, so all you Scrat fans out there can rejoice.

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The Week That Was

What is The Week That Was? Nothing much, just a recap of all that was great and wonderful here on Film School Rejects over the course of the last week. And in a week such as this, when we reviewed controversial and conversation-worthy films from the minds of Ayn Rand, Wes Craven and Robert Redford, it’s important to take a look back at the best of what was written. That, and we interviewed Takashi Miike, so we’ve got that going for us. Also, I have access to the traffic stats. I know that all of you did not read every one of our best articles. What’s the deal with that, beloved readers? Lets right those wrongs on a pantsless Sunday afternoon. Start with the articles listed in this compilation and work your way back. Do it now.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a fabulous blue feather outfit and takes a trip to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. There, he runs into a couple blue macaws trying to escape exotic bird smuggles, but he’s too busy getting his freak on to help out. Later, he comes back to the states to visit the quaint town of Woodsboro, only this time he’s traded in his fabulous blue feather outfit for a long, black cloak and a “ghost face” mask. After making some calls to random twentysomething girls who are supposed to be teenagers and asking them what their favorite scary movies are, he spent a night in the hospital from a stab wound to the face. Oh, the humanity!

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features a flightless bird, a bunch of teenagers getting stabbed to death while talking about getting stabbed to death in movies that feature people getting stabbed to death, and Lincoln getting stabbed to death by a bullet.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as ghostfacekillah and olddirrtybastard5 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, it’s the horrifying growth of the trend in Hollywood to take old movies and make sequels for them. The fans are too hip to reboots and remakes, but if they can convince an aging actor to retread barren ground, then it’s all aboard the money train. Of course, that’s not always the case, but how else do you explain Indiana Jones 4? The problem is that these movies either suck or are hollow shells of what a franchise once was. So if you’re making a decades-later sequel, what are the problems and how do you avoid them?

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The Reject Report

Imagine a quiet, two-story house on a dark small-town street. Inside, a group of teens prepare to watch a movie, something scary, something hi-def. They have wealthy parents. As they drink their respective beverages and the FBI warning sits on the screen unobserved, the phone rings. One of the teens answers. On the other end, a high shriek emits, a shriek the other teens hear coming from outside. They go to the window to look, and flying through the air, headed straight for them, is a tropical bird. It has recently been launched from a giant slingshot jutting up out of the front yard. The bird’s target has been set. The teenagers are unsuspecting. Some of them might die this night. They scream, and thus begins this week’s Reject Report, Rio vs. Scream 4.

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SPOILER WARNING: You’re entering a spoiler-friendly zone. If you haven’t seen Scream 4 yet, tell everyone you’ll be right back, and go check it out before diving in. Even with the theater three-quarters full, it was still really loud. Not people talking on cell phones or making dumb comments. No over-confident high school senior trying to impress his date by scoffing at every scene. No middle-aged man asking his wife what was going on. It was loud because people were laughing, screaming, and generally losing their minds to Wes Craven‘s newest nightmare (which is conveniently not titled Newer Nightmare). My particular midnight screening was a solid horror experience where the entire audience was on board for the ride, even when things got bumpy. That’s why the parking lot was full of people talking about the movie afterward, and it was damned refreshing to see all those people geeking out about what was just on screen. But enough about me. Let’s hear about you. What did you think of Scream 4?

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Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is a pretty shitty cop. The killers always get away, people are always dying around him, he breaks as many rules as he enforces, and he’s not nearly as smart as he thinks he is… but he’s also fun, playful, and pretty damn entertaining. Dewey is the Scream franchise. (Well, all but Scream 3, which was like Dewey after a car accident had smashed his brains into ignorant and unfunny jelly that was then devoured by Ehren Kruger and shat out upon a blank page.) It’s been eleven years since we saw Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and friends triumph over her half-brother’s murder spree in Hollywood (decade old spoiler!), and she’s a new woman. Sid has blossomed from eternal victim into best-selling author and is on a book tour celebrating her memoir about making lemonade out of blood spattered lemons. Her last stop brings her home to Woodsboro where it all began, and if the two recently gutted teens are any indication, where it’s about to begin again. Sid’s not exactly the most popular woman in town anymore since being with her is “like being on Top Chef with Jeffrey Dahmer.” That combined with the past films’ body counts has left her with only two friends (and returning characters). Dewey and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) are happily married now, but while he patrols the streets she struggles to find inspiration to write again. Hurray for murder!

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with a master Japanese filmmaker, a rising non-Japanese directing talent, discuss the legacy of Scream, and ask why there isn’t a modern-day Roger Corman. Takashi Miike is an incredible filmmaker, and as it turns out, a fascinating interview. Hopefully you speak Japanese, but if you don’t, the entire interview is in English. Now a staple of SXSW, Sebastian Gutierrez makes funny, sexy films that (gasp) focus on dialogue, character and cleavage. He joins me to talk about his new movie Girl Walks Into a Bar, and why making it the first film specifically made for internet distribution was the correct, crazy choice. Even though we keep hearing about a filmmaking revolution in the hands of the people, it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Eric Vespe from Aint It Cool and Aaron Morgan from Austin join me to ask why a new workhorse/creative force hasn’t emerged with all the inexpensive cameras just lying around for the taking. Plus, Eric Vespe  continues our streak of guests named Eric (and our one-show streak of guests named Eric Vespe) by going blade to blade against Movie News Pop Quiz Champion and FSR associate editor Rob Hunter. Who will come out alive? Will it be Wes Craven‘s career? Loosen up your tie and stay a while. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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What is Movie News After Dark? For tonight at least, it will be your gentle companion. Due to it being a little on the late side, it will be brief and to the point. The point being all the audio/visual goodness that it can provide in one sitting. Fear not, generation of non-readers, there will be video! Tonight’s lead is something you’ll wish you could wipe away from your memory banks moments after you see it (so right about now), a first look at the stage production “Batman Live.” Clearly drawn from the recesses of Joel Schumacher’s mind, buried somewhere alongside his other horrid mistakes, is the look and feel of this London-set ‘stravaganza. God save the Queen, and The Dark Knight.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. How will you know what to watch this month? Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of March, taking naps, playing tether-ball, and researching movies at the last minute to keep you informed about what’s coming out in April. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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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 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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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 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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published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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