Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers sequel

Spranng breaaak. Spranng breaaak foreeeeva. The vacation isn’t over – and neither are the criminal activities, the mischief, the interpretative dances to Britney Spears, the shorts assortments or the just plain bad decisions. Screen Daily reports that the sort-of-hinted-at and possibly-anticipated sequel to Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is a go, but that doesn’t mean we can expect the gang to get back together for it. In fact, it’s safe to assume that Spring Breakers: The Second Coming is going to like a lot like, well, its own coming, and that’s a damn shame.

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2013: A Year of Girls Behaving Badly

While YA girls have had their fun saving their families from constant supernatural and dystopian peril, a new sort of teenage girl has emerged in cinema, fueled by the age-old mantra of “live fast, die young, bad girls do it well.” 2013 was the year that young women found a different kind of representation in film through characters who took a different approach to life. Without the YA label, there was a decent crop of films centered upon teenage girls who not only lived in the real world, but also experienced real dilemmas (as for realistic, we can get into that later). Free from being the heroine that the people desperately needed and the love interest that some bland boy thought he deserved, these new teenage girls were free to be – and eagerly were – selfish, brutal and unapologetically uninterested in saving anyone but themselves. And why shouldn’t they be? After years of being relegated to the punch lines and stereotypes of the teen comedies that populated the 1990s and early 2000s, then taking up residence in the present day literary dramas, it was time for a change. 2013 was the year of girls behaving badly — and for being portrayed as real people on screen.

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2013review_music

This year brought moviegoers an array of music that ranged from uplifting (About Time “How Long Will I Love You”) to depressing (The Great Gatsby‘s “Young and Beautiful”) to catchy (Inside Llewyn Davis‘ “Please Mr. Kennedy”) to nostalgic (Saving Mr. Banks‘ “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”) to just plain out there (Spring Breakers‘ “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”). Whether it was a film about throwing (or attending) the best party of your life or one about intense family drama, the music pushed stories to new heights, whether it was an Alien rapping on the beach or two mothers pushing their children to the breaking point. Film music is no longer just orchestration and catchy pop songs – it is dubstep and bands you would normally hear on the radio taking to the conductor’s stand. Simply put – it is an exciting time for music in film because there are no rules. Now it’s time to relive some of the best music moments from this past year with scores from composers new to the scene and those continuing to churn out groundbreaking music, as well as soundtracks that featured songs from bands and artists who discovered new talents while collaborating.

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Edgar Wright

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

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James Franco

It’s been no secret that A24, the distributor behind Harmony Korine’s bonkers blast of pure adrenaline (and, like, a lot of drugs), Spring Breakers, has been stumping for some awards acknowledgement for co-star James Franco for quite some time now (he’s wisely been touted for a Best Supporting Actor role). What started as a bit of a laugh and a lark has now blossomed into what appears to be an actual campaign, albeit one that stays true to the grilled-up idiocy of Franco’s Alien, a low-tier gangster who demands that we “consider his shit.” The distributor has now released a For Your Consideration video (fine, a Consider This Shit video) touting some of the major praise heaped on Franco in the role alongside some of his greatest hits in the film. It’s a relatively straightforward FYC vid, much like the type we’ve seen for other, more traditional work from this year’s finest actors, but because it’s so serious and, yes, straightforward and traditional, it’s also something else entirely – it’s totally brilliant. After one minute of this video, you’ll be sold on nominating Franco for any and all awards for his work as Alien or, at the very least, you’ll be sold on the idea that this is work worth considering for the most prestigious awards in Hollywood, despite how low-brow this all looks (at least on the surface). Give it a look and get ready to consider some shit:

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Gimme Shelter

It is entirely possible, wholly feasible, and ridiculously strange that chubby-cheeked tweens who first became aware of Vanessa Hudgens thanks to the wholesome charms of the High School Musical franchise are now able to catch her burning up the big screen in any one of her numerous wannabe-gritty new roles. Children (children! Actual children!) that first saw her dancing across their television screens as a fresh-faced Disney high schooler can now purchase tickets to see her going gritty in a big way at their local multiplex. (This, of course, assumes that your local multiplex is playing Harmony Korine films, which does sound sort of cool.) The first High School Musical hit the small screen back in 2006, a Disney Channel production filled with new talents (Zac Efron), poppy songs, and a saccarhine love story. Hudgens starred as new girl in school Gabriella Montez, a smarty pants sweetheart who had spent her entire childhood moving around and was thrilled to be able to close out her last two years of high school in just one location (sadly, this location was Albquruque, New Mexico). Falling in love with Efron’s Big Man on Campus Troy Bolton was just icing on the cake. And then, well, we suppose the revelation that the pair were both skilled singers, dancers, and actors (along with all their friends!) who could dominate their school’s theater program was the equaivalnt of sprinkles. The costumes might as well have been candles.

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franco

James Franco‘s Sal follows actor Sal Mineo’s final hours with a fly-on-the-wall approach. In the film we see the bright young actor, played by Val Lauren, prepping a directorial feature he won’t make any compromises on. After seeing Sal, it’s easy to draw comparisons between Franco and Mineo in that regard. Franco has spent the last few years directing personal projects that are nothing if not uncompromising. Behind the camera, he’s taken on norm-defying adaptations like As I Lay Dying, the experimental recreation of lost scenes from Cruising and a documentary focused on his guest starring appearances on soap opera General Hospital.  Those projects, along with Sal, aren’t overtly commercial endeavors (as you may have noticed), but Franco’s directorial features have certainly found their audience. He works fast, and, as Franco tells us, that work ethic isn’t a matter of simply rushing through project after project. Despite being insanely busy, he sat down with me to discuss that work ethic and the prospect of making even more movies.

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springbreakers-commentary1

Harmony Korine caused a bit of a stir with Spring Breakers. Not only did it feature former Disney Channel stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens cutting loose in a wild sequence of debauchery in Florida, it also touched on various taboo subjects like racism, rape culture, and adolescent violence. Korine gives his sometimes pretentious insight into his film on the DVD and Blu-ray commentary, describing the origins of the film in hedonistic modern American imagery from frat parties and real spring break excursions. Much of the filmmaking techniques are pretty obvious from watching the film, but he also offers stories from the set, including Gomez’s nervousness about the ever-present paparazzi and how he brought elements from his own colorful childhood into the film. The movie wasn’t for everyone, but Korine’s commentary adds to the notoriety with information that ranges from the esoteric to the rustic.

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Sound City Movie

July marks the middle of summer, but it also marks the half way point of each year which means half the movies you were looking forward to seeing this year have already hit theater screens! With so many major studio releases out each weekend (plus a healthy offering of indie fare) it can be overwhelming to try and remember what you’ve seen, what you wanted to see, and any unexpected titles that may have caught your eye, but you never got a chance to actually sit down and check out. At the beginning of the year we posted a list of the 52 Most Anticipated Movies to come out in 2013 and with half the year already gone, it seemed like a good time to look back on the films that have already come out and highlight those with fantastic music you might have missed. Summer is the perfect time to play catch up on entertainment with most television shows on hiatus and long summer nights to fill so if you are looking for a list of movies from this year that featured noteworthy tunes, you have come to the right place. Some of these films are still out in theaters, some are already available on DVD, and some may need to be added to your Netflix queue to ensure you don’t miss them a second time, but all ten of these soundtracks should have you humming along well into December.

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discs robot chicken dc

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken crew set their sites on the world of DC Comics with this special episode, and the results are predictably quite funny. The usual voice talent culprits are along for the fun including show co-creator Seth Green and Breckin Meyer, and they’re joined by the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Megan Fox, Nathan Fillion and others. Aquaman is an easy and obvious target, but the episode finds some fresh angles on his well justified inferiority complex. If there’s a downside it’s that the show is done in conjunction with DC Comics meaning that they can’t be as mean as they may want to be, but there are still plenty of inappropriate actions and dialogue exchanges within. The episode itself is only 22 minutes long, but the Blu-ray is filled with special features to keep the funny coming for a couple extra hours. [Blu-ray extras: Outtakes, Q&A, commentary, featurette, making of, deleted animatics]

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Florida Movies

“Kim Jong-un doesn’t understand that we aren’t afraid of him. What that guy doesn’t get is that we already have an unstable peninsula that will ultimately bring down America. It’s called Florida.” The above quote comes from Conan O’Brian’s keynote speech at Saturday night’s Whitehouse Correspondents’ Dinner. O’Brien, of course, doesn’t explain the joke. He doesn’t need to. Not because he’s referencing a specific, recent event in Florida, but because the joke taps into a vast catalog of associations with Florida as a whole. It’s hard to pinpoint one adjective that adequately describes the ways in which Florida’s culture appears to the rest of the nation, but The Sunshine State is certainly in a class all its own. On the one hand, Florida made news this past year for its absurd, unjustifiable gun laws, its bureaucratic bulwarks against democratic participation, and even its cannibals. But in less serious terms, Florida is also known for hosting an astonishing number of bizarre petty crimes and a few emerging one-of-a-kind industries. Many lists, articles, editorials, and even a Twitter feed chronicling the life of the worst superhero ever have all taken part in attempting to surmise why, exactly, the Florida is so damned special. But perhaps recent movies that take place (and were shot on location in) Florida provide the real keys to understanding the idiosyncratic culture of Voldemort’s state. Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain is the third of a string of high-profile films to investigate the lives of that routinely exceptional brand […]

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mnad_ofthrones

Your Thursday night will end with Anna Kendrick being the most adorable person on the face of the planet. But before that, we’ll talk about why Game of Thrones is the most important show ever, why fans of Selena Gomez need to get over Spring Breakers and why Jon Stewart’s directorial debut is already getting panned. It’s all here on Movie News After Dark.

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Gummo1

Larry Clark’s 1995 film Kids wasn’t a big hit in its day, but it’s managed to stick around and get passed down from one generation of teen punk to the next over the course of the last two decades. Teenagers don’t tend to acknowledge anything that came out more than a few years before they got into high school, but they can still quote Kids, and that has to largely be thanks to Harmony Korine’s screenplay. The content of Kids sticks with people, because not only is it a shocking reminder to parents about how trashy teenage party culture gets, but it also blows kids’ hair back by reflecting the people they know in an honest way that few things in the media do, and it takes those glimmers of recognition and amps them up to maximum degradation in order to give the more impressionable members of the audience something to aspire to. Youth culture moves fast, but almost twenty years after its release, kids can still watch Kids and be shocked at how sick it is—and that’s why you can still periodically hear them quoting that they want to buy ladies corn dogs, when most of them probably aren’t even aware that Hollywood actor Justin Timberlake used to be in a band called ‘N Sync. Less people remember Korine’s debut as a director, Gummo, and that’s kind of a shame, because not only is it quite a bit more shocking than Kids, it’s also far more interesting and experimental […]

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Where the Boys Are

The American independent cinema that came to form in the 1990s seems to carry fewer and fewer visionaries untainted by the magnetic promises of Hollywood success. Some directors have “used the system” to shell out sequels and remakes in exchange for passion projects, while others have said goodbye to independent production altogether. Love or hate his movies (assuming that watching them falls into either experiential category), Harmony Korine is an uncompromising enfant terrible and a connoisseur of gutter Americana, the likes of which are increasingly rare. Sure, ever since he became famous as a result of the publicity around his Kids screenplay, his personality has largely exceeded any attention it may have generated towards his filmmaking. But that’s part of the point. I won’t go so far as to call Korine’s public persona an “act,” but (genuine or calculated, as if it can’t be both) Korine notably and consistently performs a character that is unique and familiar: a person obsessed with superficial pleasures, who exercises instinct over contemplation, and who lives in a perpetual state of kinetic energy combined with a hazy experience of reality, yet at the same time acutely and perceptively finding aesthetic value in the lowest rungs of American culture. This latter aspect makes Korine an artist, but it’s the combination that makes him an enigma. It’s striking that Korine’s most mainstream work, Spring Breakers, is also one of his most ambiguous. Does the film force a generation built on the exchange of immediate pleasure, automatic celebrity, constant […]

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Harmony Korine

“Poetry” and “video games” aren’t two sensibilities we see meshed together in cinema often. Harmony Korine, perhaps one of the most divisive figures in the indie world of the past two decades, set out to do just that: make a poetic video game. When we spoke to him for his crime comedy, Spring Breakers, he told us how he wanted his movie to have the immersive quality of a game, where the viewer is actively participating. Based on the film’s reactions, both positive and negative, Korine definitely avoided anything coming close to a passive experience. Here’s what else the writer and director of Spring Breakers had to say about his latest work:

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guide2wdw

Not a whole lot happened this week of monumental notice. Though some specific careers may have been seriously altered and some new film trends could be in the making, there was nothing that aims to revolutionize the whole industry as we saw last week. That’s why this week’s Reject Recap is a bit more populated with lists than usual (there are also more videos, but they’re not among the ten). But they’re mighty fine lists that will have you thinking and discussing and debating. And not just our own, of course. As usual, we also looked outside the FSR borders for great film-related (and sometimes TV-related) pieces elsewhere. If you see something you think should be included in the Recap, please email me.  In addition to catching up with us and the other movie blogs here, be sure to check out the continued outpouring of great SXSW coverage we’ve been posting even as the film fest itself is over. Oh, and I highly recommend this week’s brilliantly spot-on Film Jockeys strip on “The Life Cycle of a Film Fan,” which should hit close to home for many of you. Now without further ado… Start your weekend right after the jump.

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mnad_yourenext

In tonight’s round-up of the best news and notes that didn’t grow up to be bigger stories, we’ve got all genres. Star Wars and Jurassic Park representing the genre known as geek bait, Iron Man 3 in the corner of superhero flicks, Spring Breakers in for whatever the hell genre its in, and You’re Next in for some horror. As you can see above, it’s some serious horror.

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mnad_waltercat

Tonight on your favorite nightly round-up article, there’s a cat dressed up like Breaking Bad‘s Walter White and plenty of interesting Hows and Whys from the world of entertainment journalism. Like, “How to Write a Why Article: Part SEO-Bomb.” Hashtag inside baseball joke.

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Harmony Korine

That fuzzy guy on the end there came up in filmmaking with Kids when he was just a kid. With that, and with his following projects, Harmony Korine has awed a rotating audience while confounding all the people that his audience convinces to  please, please, please just watch for fifteen minutes. He’s the fresh voice most people claim they want in filmmaking, but he doesn’t fit in with any grand tradition. It’s not like others have made Korine-style movies while orbiting around a shared stylistic vision. At least, if they have, they haven’t reached his stature. Since there won’t be a Weird Wave that grows out of what he’s doing, he remains a vibrant loner and a wonderful army of one. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from Mister Lonely.

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Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers…is not the film people are expecting. Even cinephiles familiar with Harmony Korine‘s polarizing nature will be taken aback by the man’s newest creation. For one thing, it’s Korine’s most entertaining film to date, and “fun” isn’t exactly his forte. His usual strength is his willingness to write reprehensible people, and here, he shows them off with blinding neon lights, particularly James Franco sporting corn rows and a higher energy than he’s ever attempted before. Korine has made a movie about one of the scariest, funniest, and most subversive vacations in recent memory. The vacation involves four college girls: Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), and Cotty (Rachel Korine). This year they don’t want to stay in their small town for spring break again. They’re desperate to leave. So desperate that  Brit, Candy, and Cotty get the idea to rob a restaurant to fund their trip. They succeed, leading the four girls to a hellish place called “Florida.” Faith — the religious girl of the group — describes the place as spiritual to her grandmother both before and after Korine shows bros and bro-ish girls partying at their most obnoxious. Spiritual and peaceful this place, and film, are not.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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