For the past four years, I’ve been in a long distance relationship. As of two weeks ago, the distance component of that relationship has thankfully come to a close, with my heart and my wallet eternally grateful. But the change is bittersweet, as I’ve also been in something of a long-distance relationship with a city that my person inhabited, having now arrived at the end of my routine round trip travels from my current home in southern Indiana to Austin, Texas. I only officially lived in Austin for slightly over a year, from 2009-2010. But in four subsequent years of visits ranging from a brief weekend to an entire summer, I developed something of a strange relationship with the city: I saw it through elliptical fractions of time. Each visit to this rapidly growing city required reorientation, as I was forced to understand the differences big and small that have taken place since my last visit. One day Rainey Street was a mostly empty lot with a few great food trailers. The next visit it became a caravan of bars. A few visits later, dreaded condos were being developed. For nearly anyone who has experienced the city of Austin through time, there is an Austin Then and an Austin Now, with Austin Then forever casting a shadow over the always inferior Austin Now. If any filmmaker has a claim to Austin Then, it’s Slacker director Richard Linklater. But as his recent output has shown – most evidently in the magnus […]


The Matrix

We’ve lost something close to 3/4 of black and white films. It’s easy to imagine that we have all of them at our fingertips, and that they’ll be there forever, but that’s simply not the reality, and it’s a good reminder of what can happen if we’re not careful. That’s part of why the work of the National Film Registry is so vital. They ensure that a large number of time-tested films survive to test even more time. This year, as usual, they’ve selected 25 flicks to preserve including The Matrix, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Dirty Harry, and A Christmas Story (which will also be preserved 24-hours a day as long as TBS still exists). The Library of Congress has also saved Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma (1957); Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder; George Cukor’s Born Yesterday; Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own; Richard Linklater’s Slacker; the Laurel and Hardy comedy Sons of the Desert; Robert Epstein’s documentary The Times of Harvey Milk; Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop; a 1914 adaptation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that’s thought to feature the first leading role by a black man; The Augustas (which may be the Scott Nixon compilation of towns in the US named Augusta); The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight from 1897; Nathaniel Dorsky’s experimental Hours for Jerome Part 1 & 2; the Kidnapper’s Foil films; the Kodachrome Color Motion-Picture Tests (which you can see below); Robert Snody’s The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair; Kary Antholis’ holocaust documentary One Survivor Remembers; Rolf Forsberg and Tom Rook’s Christian film Parable, which imagines Christ as a clown and the world as a circus; Ellen Bruno’s Samsara: Death and Rebirth in […]


It's Impossible to Learn to Plow

The Criterion Collection is full of great movies, all carefully tabulated and accounted for with spine numbers and easily made accessible through various search means on their website. But besides the 600+ titles (out of print and not) included in The Collection, the extensive variety of special features attended in Criterion discs occasionally incorporate other feature-length and short films not officially enumerated as part of the collection itself. However, several of these films, while “hidden” in special features sections and second discs and placed subserviently to the ostensibly more “significant” featured title, are absolute gems arguably worthy of their own releases. Of course, short films are by no means uncommon in Criterion discs. You can see David Cronenberg’s contemplative short piece Camera (2000) in the annals of Videodrome, or the original short-form Bottle Rocket in Criterion’s release of Wes Anderson’s first feature. But Criterion (a company that has sometimes released short films on their own) also has several notable short and feature-length films in their special features that stand alone as cinematic accomplishments, and serve more a interesting and important purpose than as a supplement of a director’s other, briefer work. Here are four solid films hidden in the supplements of Criterion’s titles…


Austin Cinematic Limits

Editor’s Note: For several years, Film School Rejects has called the city of Austin, TX home. And throughout that time, we’ve enjoyed the always rich film scene in our own backyard. Starting today, we’re going to celebrate that love with the world through this new column written by new writer and Austinite Don Simpson. With Austin Cinematic Limits, we’ll share with you stories from the Austin film scene, give our friends and neighbors in Central Texas a weekly guide to what’s happening and celebrate all that’s great about the city in which Reject HQ resides. Yes, I admit it, Richard Linklater’s Slacker played a majorly geeky role in my fateful decision to pack my bags and relocate my butt to Austin during the summer of 1998. It was not until recently, however, that I honed in on the precise moment — the proverbial flapping of the butterfly’s wing — that propelled my life towards this long, strange tangential path on which I find myself today. It was my first visit to Austin during the spring of 1997. I arrived in the old Mueller Airport and hopped into a taxicab. The young, shaggy-haired, beatnik driver immediately commenced a sprawling diatribe of sociopolitical non-sequiturs (accented with a few conspiracy theories for good measure) that transported me into the cerebral cortex of Austin that was oh-so-brilliantly documented on celluloid by Linklater seven years earlier. Needless to say, the words “I am literally inside Slacker” swirled around inside my head for the entire 15-minute […]



Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)



Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]



What is Movie News at Sunrise? Due to some site maintenance late last night, Movie News After Dark could not be completed before it was my bed time. So I’m up early to bring you its cousin, Movie News At Sunrise. This slightly less witty, marginally more tired column should serve as the perfect pinch-hitter just in time for your morning commute. Powered by a Chick-fil-a breakfast sandwich and a hope that spelling errors will be kept to a minimum at this ungodly hour, I am here to bring you the news. Director Sam Raimi has cast Rachel Weisz as an evil witch in Oz: The Great and Powerful. She will star opposite James Franco and alongside Mila Kunis. They will play Evanora and Theodora, respectively. Weisz’s Evanora, however, becomes the Wicked Witch of the East. Sadly, we all know how things work out for her. For Raimi, the remaining major character to be cast is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams, Kate Beckinsale, Keira Knightley and Rebecca Hall are said to be on the shortlist. Hall sounds like an awesome choice, to me.


This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, champion foosball player Kevin Smith joins us for the most sobering, introspective interview the man has given all week. Jokes aside, no topic is out of bounds, so we ask the tough questions about Sundance theatrics, taking Red State out on his own, his animosity toward critics, and retiring from filmmaking (but not from storytelling). If you’re a Smith fan, you’re probably already clicking Play. If you’re one of the people that lost some respect for the man during the past year, his appearance here will do a lot to earn it back. No, we don’t find time to review Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, but we do dig in for 105 minutes on the state of distribution, the future of his own films, and how it ties in to his past. Listen Here: Download This Episode



On the 16th anniversary of the first public screening of Clerks, we get personal with the man, the myth, the lunchbox as he rips his heart off his sleeve and slams it down on the table.

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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