Seeking a Friend For the End of the World

bite the dust 01

It might surprise many to learn that Bite the Dust is the single Russian film in this year’s Official Selection, and consequently expectations are understandably high for the apocalyptic comedy farce, which nevertheless misses most of the marks it so haphazardly aims for. Though it has faced some stiff competition so far, this is presently the worst film screening at Cannes this year (even if it is early days yet), and it will take some doing to beat. Taking place in a remote, provincial Russian town, debut director Taisa Igumentseva‘s film depicts the madcap efforts of the town’s residents to come to terms with and prepare for an impending apocalypse, coming by way of a magnetic cloud guaranteed to wipe out the majority of the world’s population. Think of it as a quirky Russian arthouse take on Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, minus any potent humor or heart.

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2012-overlookedmovies

The movies listed here aren’t necessarily the year’s best, but they’re still great movies that never found an audience during their theatrical run for one reason or another. At least one of those reasons is you, but instead of berating you for failing to support the films while they were in theaters and needed your help, we’re hoping to point you in their direction now. (Which reminds me… go see Jack Reacher!) But first, a few qualifications. I’ve excluded movies that played in fewer than 100 theaters since that’s the distributor’s fault. I’m not featuring films that made over $30m, and I’m not including subtitled foreign releases which the masses avoid by default. These are only films that had a real chance of making a lot more money, so while I wish more people saw the LCD Soundsystem concert doc Shut Up and Play the Hits, I’m not surprised that it only made $510k. So here are 12 great movies that failed at the box office but deserved much better (and should be sought out immediately on Blu-ray/DVD, streaming, whatever)… and 6 terrible flicks that you were right to avoid.

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The Best Soundtracks of 2012

Looking back over the past year in film, it is impressive to remember the different styles and forms of music that accompanied these various releases as they bring back the memories and emotions felt when first hearing a particular song or watching a piece of orchestration pair perfectly with what was happening on screen. When it comes to music, it is not simply a question of what was the best; it is a question of what resonated the most. Music created for film is unlike any other type of music because it is intended to be listened to while watching specific images. Of course there are songs that stand well on their own (see: Adele’s “Skyfall”), but hopefully even outside of the film, those songs conjure up memories of the films they came from. Sometimes a song placed in a particular scene can take on a whole new meaning, giving you a new ideas to reflect on when you hear it (see: “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies as used in a pivotal scene in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.) Soundtracks and scores help add to the emotion of a film and this year’s musicians delivered in spades. From turning found sounds into orchestration to adding a new layer of depth to the end of a trilogy to proving that sometimes words simply are not enough, 2012 was filled with new, inventive, and memorable music. Let’s look back and listen to the twelve selections […]

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs… now on Mondays for your reading pleasure one day early! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Isn’t Anyone Alive? It’s afternoon on a college campus, and as the students chat about urban myths, employees go about their business and strangers pass through the area something begins to happen. They all begin to die. One by one they fall to the ground coughing and writhing in pain, but the conversations continue on around them. Director Gakuryu Ishii and screenwriter Shirô Maeda (adapting his own play) have delivered a film guaranteed to turn off 90% of viewers with its shifting tones, slow pace and lack of easy answers, but the 10% who stick with it will find a surreal gem exploring the things we share with each other and the things we keep secret. Dark, absurd humor exists alongside moments of real beauty, and the ending in particular is an affecting glimpse at true loneliness. [Extras: None]

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This contest is now closed. Thank you for entering! Armageddon films have been done, pardon me, to death. Packed with big emotions and big explosions, we’re rarely granted a fresh take on a bloated genre, by Lorene Scafaria‘s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World takes all that worldwide drama to a much smaller level – to the drama between two people at the end of the world. Starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, the film focuses on the pair of Dodge and Penny as they try to navigate their way through a world that’s run out of time. It’s sweet and funny and more than a little sad, and it’s the perfect new entry into its genre. To celebrate the opening of the film, we’re giving away two very fun prize packs from the film, both crammed with stuff you might need during Armageddon (lip balm, of course!) and stuff you just might want (glow sticks, obviously). To get you prepped for the end of the world, we’re giving away two (2) different prize packs from Seeking a Friend for the End of the World to two (that is 2) lucky winners. The grand prize pack includes: a $50 Fandango gift card, the film’s official soundtrack on CD, a t-shirt, a tote bag, lip balm, a shot glass, a glow stick and bracelet, and a key chain. The additional prize pack includes: the film’s official soundtrack on CD, a t-shirt, a tote bag, lip balm, a shot glass, […]

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Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made. Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.

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Aural Fixation - Large

I am sure the last thing to cross most people’s minds after finding out the world was coming to an end would be music, but for some people, grabbing an armful of records would be as important as grabbing family photos if you were forced to evacuate your home. The poster (and soundtrack cover) for Seeking a Friend of the End of the World shows the film’s leads, Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley), along with dog Sorry, standing in the face of an asteroid set to destroy earth. Dodge and Sorry look like you would expect, knowing a giant asteroid is heading towards you (pensive, scared), but Penny looks nearly hopeful as she clutches a stack of records. While music certainly will not save you from certain fate, it can certainly help pad the landing. Music plays an important role throughout Seeking a Friend, from Penny and Owen (Adam Brody) arguing over who will get custody of which records when they break up to Penny grabbing that armful on her way out of the apartment (potentially for the last time) to the film’s final moments with Dodge laying on the floor, accepting his fate as he lets “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies wash over him. When the power officially goes out and the world is rendered dark and quiet, the effect is truly eerie and unsettling with only the sounds of the impending elements remaining. The power of music and the escape it provides is suddenly […]

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No apocalyptic film is sweeter than Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. While we already got Roland Emmerich‘s layered, philosophical approach to our pending doomsday, writer-director Lorene Scafaria has provided whimsical competition with her endearing love story set in the midst of our final days. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is not a story of one man miraculously saving the day, but a bittersweet tale of the reserved and lonely Dodge (Steve Carell) finally having something to live for before it all ends. Dodge’s journey aside, Scafaria’s film is a road movie — which is hardly a simple structure to crack — filled with faces we all know, the creepiest and friendliest restaurant you’ll see on screen all year, and many more atypical apocalyptic escapades. Here is what Lorene Scafaria had to say about the highs and lows of pitching a film, how her directorial debut has since informed her writing, and the sheer perfection of Adventures in Babysitting:

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Who would you want to be with when the world ends? While we here at FSR have been bringing you the various movies you should watch before the world is set to end come this December, writer/director Lorene Scafaria takes on the idea of who you would want to stand with in those final moments. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World follows Dodge (Steve Carell), an insurance salesman (oh, the irony) who seems lost as the rest of the world is falling apart around him. One night, while watching the grim news (anchored with class by Mark Moses), Dodge encounters his quirky neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) and they bond over the unspoken need to have someone to spend time with, even if it means just sitting and watching television together. When Penny gives Dodge a stack of his mail (which she’d been accidentally receiving for months), he finds a letter from an ex-girlfriend (one he considered the love of his life) which prompts Dodge to find her and spend his last days with his one true love. After a terrifying riot breaks out around their apartment building, Dodge grabs Prius-driving Penny to save her (and bum a ride.) Promising to bring her to one of his friends who has a plane (which could get her to England to see her family one last time), the duo (and Dodge’s inherited dog, Sorry) embark on a road trip to get to those people they realize are most important to them.

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An array of familiar faces flitter in and out of Lorene Scafaria‘s directorial debut. Be it Rob Huebel or Patton Oswalt, they all have a minute or two to shine before the apocalypse strikes the world at play; amongst some of those soon-to-perish characters is Rob Corddry, an actor well-known for bit parts and the “asshole” role. In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Warren, played by Corddry, briefly revels in his final days, and in the way we’d hope to see him do onscreen. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World also shares a connection to another film Corddry has coming up: Michael Bay‘s Pain and Gain, based on a true (and insane) story. The doomsday bit isn’t the common thread, but the voices behind them are. Scafaria’s voice is shaping up to be a notable one, as Michael Bay’s is globally known. We’ll see Bay stretch some storyteling muscles the next time out, but, as Corddry tells us, his behind-the-scenes methods remain both the same and beneficial. Here’s wha Rob Corddry had to say about the crux of over-preparing for roles, having no frame of reference in acting school, and why Ed Harris was smashing a lot of phones for Michael Bay:

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Gird your loins, Los Angeles, the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival is coming, and this time, the fest is bringing strippers with them. Lots and lots of (cinematic) strippers. The festival has already announced four titles, which include the North American Premiere of Woody Allen‘s To Rome With Love as the festival’s Opening Night Film, along with Gala screenings for Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lorene Scafaria‘s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and Ava DuVernay‘s Middle of Nowhere, but it’s high time LAFF unveiled their full slate. And what a slate! As announced today, the festival will close with the World Premiere of Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike and will also feature the World Premiere of Alex Kurtzman‘s People Like Us. Other titles announced today of note include Sundance favorites The Queen of Versailles, Teddy Bear, The House I Live In, Celeste and Jesse Forever, Robot and Frank, and Searching for Sugar Man. Additional titles that pop out include Emmett Malloy’s Big Easy Express, Alejandro Brugués‘ Juan of the Dead, Adam Leon’s Gimme the Loot, and Joshua Sanchez’s Four. LAFF also runs a variety of special programs, including Community and Retro Screenings, a crammed slate of short films, and their trademark “Eclectic Mix” of music videos. After the break, you can check out the full line-up for this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, along with synopses for all features and a full list of all shorts and music videos playing at the fest. LAFF runs from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 24. Passes […]

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With the Tribeca Film Festival in full swing, it’s time that Los Angeles’ own Los Angeles Film Festival pipe in with still more of its lineup, all the better to get left-coasters pumped for their own festival. Earlier this month, LAFF announced that Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love will open the festival, and that announcement is now followed by the release of the first of three of the festival’s Gala titles. Those Galas will include Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild, the World Premiere of Lorene Scafaria‘s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and Ava DuVernay‘s Middle of Nowhere. Beasts was considered the break-out hit of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, so its appearance at another large festival is not a surprise, but it sure is a pleasant announcement for Los Angeles (the film was recently picked to play in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes). The film also made it on to our Most Anticipated Movies of the Summer list, as it will open on June 29. You can check out Kevin’s review of the film from Sundance, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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Everybody knows that the world is going to be ending sooner rather than later. Heck, the end of days is getting so close that we’ve been counting down our must-see apocalypse films. But until I watched the trailer for the upcoming comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, it didn’t occur to me how much fun those last few days we all spend on Earth are going to be. I mean, other than when faced with impending asteroid-related doom, when else is a guy like Steve Carell going to get a chance at a girl like Keira Knightley? Stress-induced romantic hook-ups aren’t the only perks of the world ending, either. There’s slacking off at work, taking part in some cathartic looting, and who knows how many other base pleasures to partake in. Heck, this movie sees Patton Oswalt turning into some sort of hedonistic little Satyr, Gillian Jacobs kissing everyone on the mouth, and Connie Britton hosting dinner parties for her single friends. Not only are these all great ideas for how to spend your last days, they’re also glimpses at a movie that seems to have a stellar supporting cast. Check out how the end times might look with the first trailer for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World after the break.

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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