Sigourney Weaver

Galaxy Quest

Wrapping up our curated series on sci-fi comedies, Cargill and I warp to a seldom trekked sector of the filmic universe. Setting our phasers on geek-out, we expound upon the various merits of the underrated Galaxy Quest. We discuss the movie it almost was, the deeper themes of hero worship and the complex nature of niche fame, and then we issue you, the listener, a very strange homework assignment. Because how can anyone enjoy a podcast that doesn’t involve homework, right? RIGHT?! By Grabthar’s Hammer…what an episode. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #22 Directly

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Kill The Expendabelles

The Expendabelles (or ExpendaBelles or ExPenDaBelles or whatever) is a bad idea. Not because a female-led action franchise is a bad idea — no, not that at all — but because the planned plot for the Robert Luketic feature film is so counter-productive to the concept of making an exciting, fresh and original lady-centric action film that it almost verges into parody territory (paritory, for fun). When we first learned what the ostensible Expendables spinoff would be about back in February, it took no time at all to rip it apart. What, you don’t remember? Let’s refresh. According to its official plotline, The Expendabelles is about what happens when: “America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out trying to penetrate the island lair of a deadly despot who has captured one of the world’s top nuclear scientists, [and] it becomes clear that there is no such thing as the right man for the job and that this is a mission so impossible that only women can handle it. The only way in: some of the world’s deadliest female operatives must pose as high-class call-girls shipped in by private plane to satisfy a dictator–and instead save the scientist and the day.” In short terms: fuck this.

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Sigourney Weaver in Abduction

If you’re going to have someone on your side to protect you from bad guys and guide you through life’s trials and tribulations, there is probably nobody better than Sigourney Weaver to get the job done. But although she’s one of the most badass action stars in film history, she’s leaving the niceties to Liam Neeson this time around. Weaver has signed on to the cast of the children’s fantasy flick A Monster Calls, an adaptation of the brilliant 2011 novel from Patrick Ness that will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) and feature Neeson as the title creature. The actress is taking on something a little more frosty in the film, playing grandmother to 13-year-old protagonist Conor, whose life is especially complicated with a double whammy of brutal bullying from classmates at school and his mother’s (Felicity Jones) prognosis of terminal cancer. The teen doesn’t have much of a support system either, just a father (Toby Kebbell) who’s virtually nonexistent — never bothering to check in on his miserable soon — and a terrible relationship with the grandmother. 

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Ciao-Maschio-2

Earlier this week, I wrote about one of the worst movies ever made, Congo. It’s actually just a single example of the many terrible movies involving apes and monkeys, which form a whole subcategory in the worst movies of all time canon. The group includes titles where actors wear gorilla suits as well as those where real chimps, orangutans or other primates are trained to play sports, drive cars, wear costumes of their own or provide comic relief in some other fashion. Thank goodness we have something like Rise of the Planet of the Apes and now its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to make us forget about the crap that’s come before it. Yet there has also been a lot of great ape movies ahead of this rebooted Planet of the Apes series. Most of them are documentaries, but there are a number of fiction films and dramas based on true stories that ought to be recognized, to keep them in the spotlight while leaving stuff like Congo, Ed, Buddy, Link, Dunston Checks In and so many more in the shadows where they belong. Of course, as this week’s big movie is a sequel to a reboot, it’s recommended that you also look back at the originals. At least the first Planet of the Apes and second sequel Escape From the Planet of the Apes and definitely not Tim Burton’s 2001 remake. Also, obviously Rise (obviously, right, but I went to see Dawn with someone who didn’t even know […]

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Peter MacNicol in Ghostbusters 2

A lot of people went to see Ghostbusters II on its opening weekend 25 years ago, enough to break a box office record (that would be surpassed a week later with the release of Batman). Of course it was hugely anticipated. Ghostbusters was already a classic after only five years, and thanks in part to a Saturday morning cartoon spin-off and toys and other merchandising, kids especially couldn’t wait to see Peter, Ray, Egon, Winston and, of course, Slimer back on the big screen. But it was a huge disappointment for most fans. The plot was too much of a repeat of the original, the cast didn’t give it their all and worst of all it wasn’t very funny, so said — and still say — its biggest critics. Well, I was only 12 at the time and sufficiently satisfied. Already obsessed then by how New York City is represented in cinema, I especially enjoyed the pink slime causing the Big Apple’s notorious reputation for being a mean-spirited metropolis. I even appreciated the corny use of the Statue of Liberty as the antithesis of that negative distinction. But it was enough to see the gang reunited with their proton packs, as well as the return of Rick Moranis, who would have stolen the whole movie if he weren’t beaten at his own game by Peter MacNicol. Some might think of Dr. Janosz Poha as the Jar Jar Binks of the Ghostbusters franchise. For me, he’s still the sequel’s greatest component.

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20th Century Fox

It’s not exactly a surprise that Sigourney Weaver would be showing up again in the Avatar universe for the remaining three (count em!) sequels, but the question of how she’d manage to do so has been somewhat puzzling, seeing as she (gentle spoilers for a five-year-old film) died at the end of the first film. Dr. Grace Augustine may have been hit by a bullet from an angry Quaritch while his men are destroying the Hometree, but according to director and writer James Cameron, that doesn’t mean that Weaver’s talents can’t be used elsewhere.

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news ridley scott exodus

Just as Moses was mentor to Joshua, so was Walter mentor to Jesse. Both Joshua and Jesse served as assistant and apprentice to their older counterparts. Both stood by loyally during their mentors’ greatest battles. And both, at long last, were given blessings of invincibility and made leader of the Israelites. Ok, fine. Maybe Breaking Bad won’t end with Jesse leading the Jews into the Promised Land, but Ridley Scott‘s Exodus just might. Variety is reporting that Aaron Paul is in talks to play Joshua in the Biblical epic, with John Turturro and Sigourney Weaver having just landed the parts of Ramses’ parents. Deadline also has Ben Kingsley up for the part of a Hebrew scholar.

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your daily dose of casting news. Today we find out what Helena Bonham Carter is up to with McNulty. It’s that time of the month again. What time? When Nic Cage takes another job, of course. You’ve got to feed the monkey. This time around he’s agreed to star in an upcoming thriller from Spanish director Paco Cabezas called Tokarev. According to Deadline, it’s about a former criminal whose daughter gets kidnapped, which forces him to go looking for her kidnappers, and threatens to make him slip back into his devilish old ways. None of the particulars really matter as long as Cage is going to have some sort of ridiculous hairdo and act all weird and intense and stuff though. All we needed to know was new Nic Cage movie. High five!

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Since audiences feasted their eyes on The Cabin in the Woods earlier this year, many have waited for the day they could listen to the commentary. To hear Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon wax nostalgic on horror and let us in on the secrets behind the making of this highly inventive movie would truly be a joy. Now, the DVD/Blu-Ray has been released for this film that’s sure to be on a number of top 10 lists, and not just those of horror fans. So sit back, click off the lights – your computer should light up enough so you can read – and check out all the things we learned listening to this commentary for The Cabin in the Woods. Cue the harbinger.

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It’s fair to say Jake Sully isn’t all that fascinating of an accent dropping character. He’s all stock, but the world of Avatar certainly was not. James Cameron apparently gets that, since he already plans on losing Sully for Avatar 4. That’s right, Cameron is already thinking of Avatar 4. After he completes his “thematic” trilogy, he’ll return to Pandora to give us a prequel.

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Editor’s note: Red Lights hits limited release this Friday, so please take this re-run of our Sundance review (originally posted on January 23, 2012) as a green light to give it a read. Rodrigo Cortés returns to Sundance after 2010’s Buried with another film about confinement and restriction – but one that turns those attentions to the human mind and its limits, instead of the body and its own absolutes. In Red Lights, Cortés sets his sights on the world of paranormal investigations, but in a way wholly different than we’ve come to expect from horror flicks that mine similar territory. Red Lights centers on Drs. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Buckley (Cillian Murphy), who work to disprove paranormal activity. The pair split their time between teaching at a university (to packs of eager students) and traveling to presumed paranormal occurrences (to debunk them). Both Matheson and Buckley maintain that they’ve never seen true paranormal activity that cannot be explained in one way or another (most often due to simple lies and farce), but they’re about to be challenged by an old foe of Matheson’s who appears to break all the boundaries the pair set. Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) was once a famous blind psychic, who retired amidst whispers of behavior that led to the death of his greatest critic – and now, he’s returned.

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Red Lights is a film filled with divisive questions. After the film’s Sundance premiere, many were either wrapping their heads around the grounded supernatural thriller’s final moments or completely scoffing at it. Whether one’s reaction is good or bad towards the questions writer/director Rodrigo Cortés is posing, he still gets a reaction out of you, as shown by the film’s early reviews. For most of its running time, Cortés is not afraid of playing with audience’s expectations and perceptions of the events as they play out on screen. Unlike his previous film, Buried, most of Red Lights can’t be taken literally. The difference between ambiguity and having no answers for your film’s questions can get blurred easily, but, as Cortés told us, he wrote and crafted the film with all of his own answers in mind. Here’s what Rodrigo Cortés had to say about the story’s exploration of duality, his flawed protagonists, and how to question everything we see in Red Lights:

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We’ve known from the very beginning that James Cameron intended on making a sequel to his wildly successful foray into 3D filmmaking, Avatar. We’ve had indication that he might even have plans for several sequels for Avatar, stretching the thing out to encompass an entire trilogy. Word was that the upcoming journeys into the world of Pandora were going to deal heavily with exploring its underwater locations, a prospect that sounded promising, given all of the development of underwater technologies Cameron has done over the years. But when the director started talking about how he might even make three more Avatar sequels, and how he didn’t plan on making movies that weren’t Avatar related ever again…the guy started to sound a little crazy. Well, crazy or not, it indeed looks like that’s going to be the plan. Showbiz 411 has quotes from Avatar actress Sigourney Weaver confirming that Cameron has plans for three more sequels, and that they’re all going to be shot at the same time. This all but confirms that we’ll have to sit through an entire block of films about blue-skinned eco-warriors. Weaver’s comments come with the addendum that she has no idea how long the filming is going to take, how any of it is going to work, and that her job is to “just show up.”

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Ridley Scott Alien DVD Commentary

Prometheus is Ridley Scott‘s latest magnum opus, a groundbreaking cinematic achievement beyond our wildest imaginations. At least that’s what we’re all hoping for with the film. At the very least we’ll take a return to the sci-fi terror Scott unleashed on audiences earlier in his career, but Prometheus is a film moviegoers all over will be talking about. We’d love to hear Scott talk about it, probably along with screenwriter Damen Lindelof. We’ll take Jon Spaihts just because he comes with the package deal, but it’ll be a commentary that delves into the depths each man had to go to craft yet another legendary, sci-fi tale. That will be amazing. Anyway, here’s the commentary for Alien. Seriously, though. How can you introduce Alien?

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Drinking Games

More than thirty years ago, Ridley Scott directed the groundbreaking sci-fi/horror film Alien. Now, this summer, he’s prepping the release of the sister film Prometheus. As is the case when any sequel, prequel or remake comes out, fans will want to revisit the original film. Whether you’re planning on watching the entire Alien series (including the odious Alien Resurrection and the batshit crazy Alien vs. Predator: Requiem) or just the first – and possibly best – of the run, here’s where you’ll start. And what better way to enjoy this classic monster movie in space film than with a frosty drink in hand?

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Word on the street is that Oren Moverman‘s Rampart is pretty damned good. It stars Woody Harrelson as an LAPD cop in the wake of the Rampart scandal in the 1990s. It also features Ice Cube, who doesn’t at all still represent the LA of the early 1990s. The thing is, even if the movie were terrible, this poster would still be awesome. It looks absolutely stunning, and we’re giving one away. Plus, one (1) lucky winner will get a Harrelson-signed script to go with their new wall art. How do you enter? Excellent rhetorical question! Here’s how:

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Amy Heckerling has been developing the habit of making movies about once a generation that perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of current youth culture. In the early ’80s, it was her film Fast Times at Ridgemont High that gave high school kids all over the world the idea to have pizzas delivered to their classrooms and made that one Cars song be forever linked with Phoebe Cates taking off her top. In the mid-’90s she brought us Clueless, which introduced the world to how cute Paul Rudd is when he sheepishly grins and finally asked a lost generation to pull up their pants and stop looking like trashballs. So now that it’s 2012 and Heckerling has written and directed a new film, you have to ask yourself if it’s going to be another one of those generation defining moments in movies, or if it’s just going to end up being another Look Who’s Talking? Her new project is called Vamps, and seeing as it’s a little late to cash in on the vampire crazy, its chances of becoming a big thing are already looking kind of dicey. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun though, because it has a completely ridiculous cast, and a plot that sounds tailor-made for getting everyone’s girlfriends to squeal.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Cabin in the Woods Carol J. Clover‘s 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws was one of the rare academic books to become a hit amongst a larger, dedicated movie-going public. The book introduced the term “final girl” (the virginal “good” female who often becomes the final victim or lone survivor at during the final act of a horror film) into the zeitgeist, and it’s an idea that seems so obvious, and is so pervasive throughout the genre, that the fact that a similar term had never been popularized before was simply confounding. It’s also the central organizing conceit to Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the most overt act of genre deconstruction to enter multiplexes in quite some time. The final girl does not emerge in Cabin as it does in its normal generic form (as a narrative inevitability, a cliché), but rather Clover’s coined conceptualization of “the final girl” encompassingly structures the film – it is the critique of generic conceit, rather than the routine employment of a generic norm, that acts as Cabin’s narrative impetus.

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Back in 2010, Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés got the attention of U.S. audiences by putting Ryan Reynolds in a box for Buried. Now he’s back with an ensemble number that looks at the world of celebrity psychics. The first trailer for Red Lights doesn’t let us in on the secret of whether psychic powers really exist in its world or not, but it raises the question. And what it does reveal to us along the way is that it has an impressive cast that makes it look more than worth checking out. If you want to know more about the film, you can also check out Kate’s review from Sundance – or just check out the trailer below.

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It’s called a character arc, and everybody has one. It’s the progression of a character throughout a film as they go from “A” to “B” and change emotionally, intellectually, and physically along the way. It exists because nobody sane wants to watch two hours of some dude sitting in a chair…which just so happens to be the story of how this very list was made. When it comes to action, horror, and any other fast-paced genre of film, one of the best things about watching the characters adapt is that since the environment they exist in is so do-or-die, there is a incredibly steep learning curve – so by the end of the film, you most likely have a completely different person you started with…and considering that they are still alive, they probably got way, way more badass along the way.

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