Submarine

Moss IT Crowd

Today is Richard Ayoade’s birthday. You might know him as the random British inclusion in The Watch, the filmmaker behind the Jesse Eisenberg doppelganger movie, The Double, and of course, he’s Moss from The IT Crowd — a character that Christopher Campbell once dressed up as for Halloween. He’s also a great serving of comedic joy. Ayoade wouldn’t agree. He self-deprecatingly says he’s “just terrible. At talking. With words.” But if Ayoade is not, by his estimation, an actor, he is certainly a man who can banter brilliantly and absurdly in ways that make every manner of words seem natural. Even better: he has his own much-needed spin on nostalgia, one that replicates old styles rather than old toys, and relishes in the remnants of real life rather than computer-crafted graphics, as these 8 examples reveal.

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Meet the Fokkens

If the Ben Stiller/Robert De Niro movies had been set in the red light district of Amsterdam with two flaxen-haired geriatrics on the verge of retiring from professionally giving hand jobs, it might have made more money. Or been better. From writer/director Gabrielle Provaas, the documentary Meet the Fokkens (Ouwehoeren in its native tongue) is a portrait of said infamous district and Louise and Martine – two seasoned, sex worker sisters who still pull in money with their talents. The trailer promises candid, quirky conversations with them about vibrators, young hookers and hopefully they’ll share their stroopwafel recipe. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The last time we heard about director Richard Ayoade’s follow-up to his quirky and likable teen drama Submarine, we were hit with the news that Jesse Eisenberg had been cast in the lead. The Double is based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella called “The Double: A Petersburg Poem,” which is a trippy tale about an average Joe who’s being followed around by his exact double, an evil doppelganger intent on ruining his life. Eisenberg, of course, is playing the lead and the lead’s evil twin, which is exciting in itself; but now that THR is reporting that up-and-coming young actress Mia Wasikowska is also joining the cast, my excitement surrounding this one has, well, doubled. Seeing as this is less a direct adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novella and more a work written by Ayoade and Avi Korine that’s inspired by the original story, it’s hard to say what role Wasikowska will actually be playing in the film. But seeing as she’s a major actress, I guess we can infer that it’s going to be a large one? What THR does seem to know for sure is that Ayoade promises that his film is “funny, frightening and dream-like” and it will “reflect on loneliness and our need to love and be loved.” Sounds like The Double is going to share some themes with Submarine. Is this the first glimpse we’re going to get at Ayoade the auteur? Couple this onscreen duo with the satiric wit that Ayoade displayed in his first film, […]

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Hundreds of movies are released each year in theaters or straight to DVD, and a large percentage of them suck. A much smaller group though are fantastic slices of cinema that thrill, excite, invigorate and entertain, and while some of them are recognized at the box office many more are left to die a quick and undeserved death. And it’s essentially your fault. Of course I don’t mean you specifically, but instead I’m referring to the average American movie-goer who chose not to see these movies in the theater. They ignored the critical acclaim, reviews and recommendations from sites like ours and instead bought multiple tickets for the latest Twilight or Transformers movie. So while it’s too late to affect their box office returns (most of them anyway), Jack Giroux and Rob Hunter have put together a list of eleven movies that deserved far better treatment in 2011.

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The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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The Best Films of 2011

It has come time once again to move from celebrating the worst, most annoying and most discussed films of the year — something we do at the front of our Year in Review for a reason — and start celebrating those films that have earned places in our hearts, celebrating all the best of 2011, a year that, on the whole, wasn’t such a bad year at the movies. And once again I’m honored to present my top picks of the year, as the Publisher of Film School Rejects. It’s not a vanity thing, but more of a tradition. Since the site’s inception, I’ve always presented my best of the year as The Editor’s Picks. And while I’m honored by this opportunity and enjoy it immensely, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably waiting with bated breath for what will come later in the week when we release The Staff Picks. Because they are the ones who are really interesting. But until then, you get me and my odd gathering of best films from the year that was.

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Criterion Files

Part of me is in complete disbelief that the release date of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums will have been a decade ago next month. It doesn’t feel so long ago that I was sixteen years old, seeing it for the first time in a movie theater and spending my subsequent Christmas with The Ramones, Elliot Smith, and Nico playing on repeat in my car (two years later, after hearing of Smith’s death, my friends and I gathered together and watched Richie Tenenbaums’s (Luke Wilson) attempted suicide with new, disturbing poignancy). And ten years on, even after having seen it at least a dozen times, and armed with the annoying ability to know every beat and predict every line, something about Tenenbaums feels ageless and fresh at the same time. But when you look at the movie culture that came after Tenenbaums, the film’s age begins to take on its inevitable weight. Tenenbaums was Anderson’s first (and arguably only) real financial success. Previously, Anderson was perceived as an overlooked critical darling following Rushmore, a promising director that a great deal of Hollywood talent wanted to work with (which explains Tenenbaums’ excellent cast and, probably, its corresponding financial success). With this degree of mass exposure, other filmmakers followed suit, establishing what has since been known as the “Wes Anderson style,” which permeated critical and casual assessment of mainstream indies for the following decade and established a visual approach that’s been echoed in anything from Napoleon Dynamite to Garden State to less […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to FSR’s first DVD column for October 2011! There are lots of interesting titles hitting shelves today including two third or fourth generation sequels that surprise by being far more entertaining than anyone expected them to be. In addition to Scream 4 and Fast Five several smaller films are coming out too including the giallo-inspired art film Amer, Zach Braff’s indie drama The High Cost of Living, the sweetly comic UK coming of age film Submarine, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Buck Buck Brannaman has a special appreciation for the equine species that helps him understand and communicate with horses and their owners. He’s been labeled a real life “horse whisperer” and even assisted Robert Redford on his film of the same name, but his life wasn’t always a success story. This documentary takes a man and a subject so purely American and finds real heart, pain, and inspiration in the tale. All of it is engaging, but the bit towards the end about a damaged and violent colt is suspenseful and heartbreaking.

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Submarine is the coming-of-age tale of a cold, calculated, and pretentious teen by the name of Oliver Tate. Oliver, like Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, could easily come off as a downright off-putting and self-absorbed kid. He starts off as an arrogant and creepy kid dealing with what seems to be the weight of the world on his shoulders. Oliver’s romance that comes out of seeking pure lovemaking turns into something genuine. His parents’ love is dying, and he can’t fix it. Through nearly all of this, Oliver stays near-emotionless and blank. His transformation and revelations are shown through writer-director Richard Ayoade‘s unique visual eye, which also never sugarcoats Oliver’s oddness. Ayoade has crafted a young protagonist that while many will love many others will question his sanity… a rare type of lead these days. Here’s what Richard Ayoade had to say about not writing too much style, the moral ambiguity of the film’s characters and, of course, Oliver Tate.

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The Reject Report

And I hope they’re teaching math. But this class is probably more about learning skills like flinging energy beams from your eyes or learning how to hone you telekinetic abilities. I kind of wish I had some of those right now. That way I’d know exactly how many audience members will be attending X-Men: First Class this weekend, and my numbers will be a bit more accurate than they were this time last week. Thanks a lot, Kung Fu Panda 2. Regardless, it seems pretty evident First Class will come in #1 this weekend, as it opens unopposed. That is, if you consider the gargantuan second weekend Hangover Part II is likely to have. Still, I’m sticking with my guns. First Class all the way, but its debut might not be as astonishing as some would hope. Let’s look into that more right now.

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Richard Ayoade’s Submarine is a much-needed corrective to the twee adolescent indie dramedy. The film maintains many of the recognizable bells and whistles of that exceedingly tired subgenre, but like the potential available in any catalog of clichés, Submarine finds a way to make them work. Instead of simply presenting us a socially outcast teen protagonist who speaks and thinks like somebody possessing cleverness and insight far beyond his years, Submarine provides specific reasons why its protagonist is so articulate while still giving us plenty of evidence that he is indeed an inexperienced teenager who has a lot to learn. Instead of assembling random visual quirks into a Jared Hess-style landscape in which decades of fashion are collapsed into one oppressively ironic and ahistorical moment, the setting and style of Submarine is (mostly) consistent in presenting a historical moment informed by nostalgia, even if we don’t quite know when that moment is (but we don’t really need to). In short, Submarine is refreshingly sincere. It’s an all-too-familiar coming of age tale, but the film gives us plenty of reasons to give a damn – its story in particular.

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We would like to take you to a movie. We see plenty of movies in advance so that we can review them for you, so why shouldn’t you get some early watching, as well? Next week we will be co-hosting an advance screening of Richard Ayoade’s Submarine in Austin, TX. It’s one of the most buzzed about films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it’s the directorial debut of the guy who played Moss on The IT Crowd. Those two factors led to it ending up on our list of the 15 must see films of summer 2011. So let’s go see it together, okay? All you have to do is email screenings@filmschoolrejects.com with “Submarine” in the subject line and if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to us before we run out of spots, we’ll put you on our list and send you a confirmation. The screening takes place on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:30p at the Regal Arbor Cinema in Austin.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as DogEatsHeart and 5Obstructions5 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair apply some sun screen and some green screen in order to forecast how the movies of Summer 2011 might shape up. Is there a secret weapon to its inevitable success? Is its success inevitable? Anything would be better than last year, right?

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Last summer was a good (not great) movie season. Granted, there were some notorious duds with Robin Hood, Jonah Hex, Avatar: The Last Whatever-It’s-Called, the one where Jake Gyllenhaal talked real funny and had his shirt off a lot, and many, many others. And, of course, there were some rather disappointing missed opportunities (*COUGH* Iron Man 2 *COUGH*). But overall, it was a solid time for both big event films and the smaller ones. There were two excellent high profile films (Toy Story 3, Inception) and a handful of great little-seen ones (Animal Kingdom, Cyrus, Solitary Man, etc.). And who could forget about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? This summer will most likely be no different. There are a few films not to get too excited about, but there are plenty of other films to get tingly about. There are two Marvel films, a new frickin’ Terrence Malick epic, a great looking new X-Men…the list goes on and on. In fact, the list goes on right now with the 15 Must See Movies of Summer 2011:

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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