Snowpiercer

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This will probably be difficult to believe for some of you, but we walk into every movie hoping it will be the best movie. We may criticize a trailer or point out early concerns, but once we sit down and the movie starts digitally unspooling before our eyes our hope every single time is to experience something fantastic. When a film succeeds on that front we shout it from the highest virtual rooftops, but that isn’t always the outcome. The pure flip-side of this of course are the movies we leave absolutely despising. Usually the films in this group aren’t exactly surprises — think Blended, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Sex Tape, Hercules — and while we hoped for better we ended up with pretty much what we expected. But sometimes the movies we expected more from end up being major disappointments too. A quick poll of the staff revealed a pretty varied list of films fitting this description, some of which are viewed as unqualified successes by the rest of us. Keep reading to see ten of the movies that left us unsatisfied, underwhelmed and ultimately disappointed.

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Marvel Studios

2014′s summer movie season comes to an end in a week or so, but while some folks will be editorializing about the box office being down 15-20% compared to last summer and others express surprise that a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy could be days away from becoming the year’s highest grossing domestic hit, we here at FSR have a different agenda. Simply put, we saw a lot of great movies this summer, and we hope you did too. The year’s best “big” movie (per me anyway), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, missed the summer cutoff as it opened in early April, but there were still some fantastic blockbuster-type flicks that entertained the hell out of us over the past four months. Of course, there were also some brilliant smaller films too. An informal staff survey revealed a mix of both to be our favorites of the summer. Keep reading to see which movies moved us the most from May through August.

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summer_diaries_2

There’s no shortage of love for the way Marvel has crafted its Cinematic Universe, especially from yours truly. They’ve created an entire market for themselves by weaving nine — soon to be ten — movies together into an impressive spandex suit. From Iron Man in 2008 to this year’s unofficial summer kick-off movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, every Marvel movie is the next piece in a much larger puzzle. Like clockwork, we wait in darkened theaters through lengthy credits to get to the end, where a little tease usually awaits for what comes next. Each film is built with the next stage in mind. It’s a phenomenon not limited to Marvel, though. They simply seem to have perfected it. Warner Bros. is about to set off on a voyage to build its DC Comics universe. And Michael Bay this summer rebooted his entire franchise and took Transformers in a new direction. Every major summer tentpole film is now trying to hook you years in advance. Studios spend money on these movies specifically because they spawn franchises and propel stars who go on to lead other tentpole movies. They sell merch and home video copies and get endlessly streamed the minute they hit the web. The concept isn’t lost on any of us (more like it’s hammered in), especially this week following Comic-Con. We are reminded that these movies are made within the confines of a well-oiled business machine. With their formula, Marvel has your movie ticket money locked up probably […]

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The Bands Visit Movie

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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AntiChrist

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer

Warning: Spoilers for the ending of Snowpiercer Somewhere along the way, purchasing a ticket for Bong Joon-ho’s long-awaited Snowpiercer became a populist act that echoes the content of the film itself. Months of coverage followed Harvey Weinstein’s threat to cut the festival favorite. Knowing the kind of backlash that would ensue, Weinstein opted not to cut the film himself but instead asked Bong to shave 20 minutes off and add an explanatory voice-over to bookend the film. Bong refused, and the web backed him by reporting on the story, supporting the director’s vision and pushing for its unblemished release. While The Weinstein Company narrowed the rollout of Snowpiercer from a wide to a limited opening, no cuts were ever made, and it would seem that the voices of many overcame the far more powerful voice of one. It’s a strange case of life mimicking art, with movie fans and erstwhile supporters of artistic integrity using collective action against a major cultural gatekeeper. After traveling worldwide mostly without incident, film fans and prospective moviegoers pushed Snowpiercer to pry open the door and enter the American moviegoing scene on its own terms. But, as the film itself shows, the relations of power are never quite as simple as they seem.

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Madame Tutli Putli Short Film

The big movie this weekend is Snowpiercer! Okay, so it isn’t. The big movie this weekend is Transformers: Age of Extinction. However, you can’t watch the bulk of the old cartoons for free online, and what’s available is, frankly, terrible. The web series that Hasbro put out to accompany this recent batch of features, Cyber Missions, is staggeringly dull. Don’t waste your time. If you have Netflix streaming do yourself a favor and watch some of the original 1984-1987 series, particularly a bizarre Season 2 episode called “Auto-Bop” in which the Decepticons take over a New York City nightclub. Thank me later. But back to Snowpiercer! I don’t think it would be too much of an exaggeration to say that the cinema owes an awful lot to the locomotive. Trains look great on screen, particularly in the least hospitable climates. David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago each feature stunning sequences that involve the proverbial Iron Horse. The train is perhaps the defining metaphor of and for the 20th century. Just look to the Estonian stop-motion short featured in my Annecy Film Festival round-up, Ülo Pikkov’s haunting Body Memory. Snowpiercer appears to be no different, a high-speed allegory flying through the desolate snowy wastelands of the post-apocalyptic future.

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summermovieprediction_wk9

Welcome to week nine of our 2014 Summer Box-Office Challenge! Think of it as a summer-long contest for movie-lovers — you’ll make predictions and guesses as to which summer movies will rule the box-office each week, we award points and at the end of the contest the three top point-earners will each win a Blu-ray/DVD prize pack! First place will win ten (10) Blu-ray/DVD titles released throughout the coming summer, second place wins five (5) and third place wins two (2). We’ll have bonus questions each week as well to help bolster your point totals and keep you in the running. The majority of you chose correctly last week and picked the Think Like a Man sequel to win the weekend box office, but it looks to be incredibly close with 22 Jump Street earning just one million dollars less. The estimates show Think banking $30m — a nice round number sure to change slightly once the actuals come in later today — and Jump falling less than 50% in its second weekend to bring in $29m. (It’s rare but not unheard of for estimates to be off by more than $1m, so it’s possible our results below may change significantly.) As for last week’s bonus question, Roman Polanski’s Venus In Furs earned less than $32k bringing in only $26k for its opening weekend. We’ll update once the actuals come in later today, but here are the top five players based on the estimates. [EDIT: The actuals are in, and Think Like a Man 2 […]

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Snowpiercer

Want to see director Bong Joon Ho (The Host, Mother) and his latest movie Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and John Hurt? Do you also live in Austin, Texas? Final question: are you free this coming Saturday evening? On June, the Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a Rolling Roadshow in which guests will roll out to beautiful Burnett, TX, aboard a vintage steam train to watch an exclusive advance screening of Snowpiercer. And because we love this idea, we want to send one (1) reader and a guest along for the ride. To enter to win the pair of tickets, all you need to do is email neil[at]filmschoolrejects.com with SNOWPIERCER in the subject line. In the body of the email, please include your name and a phone number where we can reach you. A winner will be chosen and contacted by the end of Wednesday, June 18. For more information about the event, visit Drafthouse.com.

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Snowpiercer

For director Bong Joon-ho, the future looks bleak. Based on the French graphic novel, “Le Transperceneige,” Snowpiercer takes audiences a mere twenty-six years into the future when an attempt to stop global warming leaves the world frozen and uninhabitable. The only humans left alive now exist on a self-sustaining train that endlessly circles the earth making their new home feel more like prison than salvation. For those segregated to the back of the train, life is a constant struggle where every meal (and moment) is regulated by a select few lucky enough to have boarded at the front. The Snowpiercer is ruled by it’s omnipresent inventor, Wilford, and his unflinching rules are upheld by Mason (Tilda Swinton) who is equal parts comical and terrifying. Trying to survive under this constant oppression, it is not long before those in the back of the train decide it is time to overthrow their self-appointed rulers. This rag-tag army, as led by the surly Curtis (Chris Evans), band together to push their way to the front and try to figure out why they are being treated like second-class citizens.

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The Purge 2

October may be the official month of horror movies, with a pillowcase of spooky releases slated just before Halloween each year, but that doesn’t mean you are free from cinematic terror in the off-season. Especially since the summer has become an unexpected time slot for surprise horror hits like The Conjuring. This summer’s crop of horror films features a number of film festival selections as well as films from popular horror directors like Ti West, Scott Derrickson and the Dowdle Brothers. If you’d like a quick refresher on what horror films to expect for the next few months, or if you just want to watch the trailers that will haunt your late-night television commercials now and get it over with, here’s a list with their unnerving trailers attached. Keep in mind that the dates listed below are for the U.S., though if the films are successful enough, they’ll surely be available eventually wherever you are. You can’t hide:

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Edge of Tomorrow

May was a rough time for major releases. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and A Million Ways to Die in the West, the first month of summer blockbusting got off to a messy start and ended with an equally toxic finish. Although I’m not a fan of Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past, they have their supporters, so maybe May wasn’t as bad of a month as I’m pegging it as. Maybe it’s just that when a studio comedy as tedious and frustrating as A Million Ways to Die in the West comes around, it’s always going to poison the whole calendar page. Thankfully this summer is about to receive a large improvement, because there’s a terrific blockbuster coming out this Friday. While the Tom Cruise-starring action movie isn’t tracking so hot, let’s hope the tides change and people flock to Edge of Tomorrow. Plus, there’s a solid amount of releases this month you should plan to see. Here are the must see movies of June 2014:

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Snowpiercer

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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oh0iz9

While it’s still unclear when the U.S. will be able to see Bong Joon-Ho‘s Snowpiercer, which is still enjoying a record-breaking run in South Korea, we can all wait and twiddle our thumbs while the Weinstein Company trims and re-edits the movie and occupy ourselves with these new stills and gorgeous concept art. Many of the photos take us inside the grimy train where people huddle in the dark - but Tilda Swinton almost looks stately in her bug glasses and fur coat. In sharp contrast to the train, Alison Pill appears to rule over a bright, cheery classroom as the grooviest schoolteacher in an otherwise desolate landscape. I’d like to think that shot of the man in the suit looking puzzled is a direct reaction to watching her dance. The concept art shows beautifully inked images of the train and its insides, and perhaps glimpses of scenes that we haven’t been shown yet. And hopefully, that won’t get cut in the “new and improved” version of the film that we may get thrust upon us. Hopefully, these images will be enough to tide you over for awhile, because it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Snowpiercer until early next year, so take a look after the break.

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hSnowpiercer_14

To those who’d like to see Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer and don’t currently live in Korea, I’ve got some bad news. The film still has no release date for the Western world, but Harvey Weinstein, eager to add insult to injury, has just stepped in to make things much, much worse. According to film critic and programmer Tony Rayns (via Australia’s Inside Film), Weinstein, who’s in control of the film’s international distribution, has instructed Bong (The Host) to shave 20 minutes off his 126-minute film, or it won’t see a release in North America, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. That’s awful. But what’s even worse is Weinstein’s reasoning behind the cut.  Rayns tells why: “[The Weinstein Company] people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.’” Reportedly, the cuts would come from the film’s character work, leaving Snowpiercer as a bare bones action flick.

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Snowpiercer

There’s still no US release date for Bong Joon-Ho‘s Snowpiercer, but that hasn’t stopped the powers that be from dangling the film in front of our faces (those of us in the United States, that is) like a carrot, tied to a string yet just out of reach. And the latest carrot comes in the form of a new trailer for the film, showing off plenty of action, foreboding voice-over and some some seriously brutal axe-murdering. Check it out after the break.

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trailer snowpiercer

There are few directors with a track record as consistent as Bong Joon-ho, and while it could be argued that he hasn’t made all that many films yet I’ll always prefer quality over quantity. His debut feature remains his only truly average one with Memories of Murder, The Host and Mother all being near brilliant examples of genre filmmaking at its best. It’s been a long four-year wait since his last film, but Bong’s newest is finally ready to be shared with audiences. Snowpiercer is his biggest film yet with a globe-spanning storyline and an international cast. The story, based on a French graphic novel, is a post-apocalyptic tale about a train carrying the last human survivors across a landscape enduring a new ice age. A clear line exists between the classes, and as the train races along the tracks a violent uprising is brewing in the back cars. Take a ride with the Snowpiercer trailer below. (And note, this international trailer isn’t of the highest quality.)

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snowpiercer-characterposters-swinton-full

While Bong Joon-ho‘s upcoming Snowpiercer is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the only living survivors of a massive, ongoing Ice Age all live together on a trans-continental train that continually circles the globe, it looks like certain things haven’t changed – namely, that Tilda Swinton has still somehow managed to look insane, otherworldly, and completely engrossed in her character. Sure, there are some shades of Golden Girls here in this first set of character posters for the film, but this look at Swinton and the rest of the cast is eerily compelling. Just how bad are things on this train? (Yes, yes, pretty bad, as there is a revolution stirring.) After the break, check out the rest of the character posters, including Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Kang-ho Song, and Octavia Spencer.

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Snowpiercer

One of the year’s most intriguing new films, Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer,has just released its first official photo, and it looks just as gritty, bleak, and claustrophobic as we would expect from a film that is set on a post-apocalyptic, world-traversing super-train that is powered by “a sacred perpetual-motion engine” that’s creeping steadily closer to an inter-class revolution. The first look features Song Kang-ho, one of the filmmaker’s perpetual stars, who definitely seems to be stuck in the Snowpiercer’s poor class. Will he help lead a revolution? Or will that be left up to some of the film’s other talented stars, like  Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer? Who knows! (We kid, the film is based on a French graphic novel called “Le Transperceneige,” and anyone who has read it obviously has some insight into just what will happen aboard Snowpiercer). The Film Stage (via ComingSoon) first posted the official image, and both outlets have also posted some gorgeous concept art from the film for your visual enjoyment. Snowpiercer is expected to hit theaters sometime this summer.

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Snowpiercer Concept

In 2031, a massive train presses its way through the frozen wasteland of a planet with a desperate crowd of passengers unsure of whether they’ll survive or if surviving is worth it. Trapped and fearful, they begin to turn on each other. Based on the graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” this is the plot of Bong Joon-ho‘s English-language debut, Snowpiercer. Now, thanks to Cahiers Du Cinema (via The Playlist), we can take a look at some concept art for the film that belongs on museum walls. The director behind The Host and Mother has got a lot of expectations to live up to with his next flick, but it seems clear that the imagery will have a solid chance of being stunning. Check it out for yourself:

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