Sunset Boulevard

Alex-03

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Ethan Schaeffer shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Name: Alex Theatre Location: 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA Opened: September 4, 1925, as a vaudeville and movie house called the Alexander. Reopened on December 31, 1993, as the Alex Theatre Performing Arts & Entertainment Center. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: none

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As far as I can tell, regular folk don’t care for movies about movies or films about filmmaking. They used to, back when Hollywood was a more glamourous and idolized place for Americans. Classics like Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1954 version of A Star is Born were among the top-grossing releases of their time. But 60 years later, it seems the only people really interested in stories of Hollywood, actors, directors, screenwriters, et al. are people involved with the film industry — the self-indulgence being one step below all the awards nonsense — and movie geeks, including film critics and fans. If you’re reading Film School Rejects, you’re not one of the aforementioned “regular folk,” and you probably get more of a kick out of stuff like Living in Oblivion, Ed Wood, Get Shorty, State and Main, The Hard Way, The Last Tycoon, The Stunt Man, The Big Picture, The Player, Bowfinger, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Argo than those people do. While it is true that The Artist faced the challenge of being a silent film, another major obstacle in the way of box office success must have been its Hollywood setting. Argo isn’t really literally about filmmaking, though, and that might be working in its favor. Ben Affleck‘s period thriller, which is expected to finally take the top spot at the box office this weekend, is about not making a film, so it should have the opposite result of most movies in which […]

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Hot Rod

Netflix just doesn’t slow down its new streaming releases, with a huge crop recently being added on the first of the month and more noteworthy titles appearing on regularly. The great variety in titles can be easily seen by taking a look a rich, slow Western-horror, an absurd comedy, a dude punching wolves in the face, a prescient media classic and .

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Merch Hunter - Large

In a variation on the usual format, this week the Merch Hunter will be getting on his soap-box, because there is something fundamentally broken with the way that studios and marketeers produce and release film posters these days, which has criminally devalued them as a really viable collectible compared to the Golden Age posters of yesteryear. The problem is, posters are now seen as little more than a disposable marketing tool, rather than a celebration of the subject film: they are deemed an obligatory step in the pre-release campaign and in 90% of cases are given less consideration or dutiful care than the ridiculous promotional material that is sent out in bulk to bloggers (like Drive tooth-picks and Horrible Bosses beach-balls). Film posters are supposed to be works of art: they should not be limited to cheap thrill character reveals or plot hints, because the trailer already exists for those reasons. Yet time and time again, modern studios feel the need to advance this risible idea of the poster as a “teaser”, which not only makes it completely disposable after the event in most cases, but also fundamentally redefines what a poster is. Instead of something to be held in esteem, and given pride of place on cherished wall-space, what is left is a glorified jpeg, expressly aimed at the blogosphere and its hunger for new material no matter what the cost.

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There are few figures as frightening as Gloria Swanson‘s Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. Freddy? Jason? Leatherface? All of them cower in fear as she walks down the staircase. It was the capstone to her career, and a meta experience in more ways than one, but on a simpler level, it was nominated for an unbelievable 11 Oscars (and won 3 of them). What apparently deserved awards for Best Music, Best Black and White Art Direction, and Best Writing became an enduring force of a film that still thrills to this day. Fortunately, this trailer is just as ethereal and mysterious as the movie itself.

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Your weekly fix of great movies made before you were born that you should check out before you die. An aging actress of another era wastes away in her mansion on Sunset Blvd. It’s by chance alone that a young writer stumbles upon her dreary existence and is pulled deep down into her madness alongside her. That young writer is now floating face down in a beautiful pool. A classic, a must-see, a brilliant film, Sunset Blvd. succeeds on every level no matter how desensitized by the past 60 years of filmmaking we’ve been.

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doubleindemnityposter

What begins as a standard sales visit about car insurance renewal, slowly builds piece by piece into a tale of infatuation, intrigue and murder.

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