Super 8

The Best Movie Trailers of 2011

They say it’s hard to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to world of cinema and movie marketing (and the plethora of films that hit theaters each weekend), it’s hard not to use a film’s three-minute long trailer to judge whether or not it will be something you’ll be interested in seeing (and with movie prices on the up and up, it’s hard to go in blind these days). The illustrious Jack Giroux and Allison Loring rounded up the top 11 trailers released over the past year. They’re both for films that came out in 2011 and either lived up to or fell short of their promise and for films due to be released next year that have begun teasing us early. Plus a few honorable mentions because Jack and I aren’t super great at math (we’re writers, and I’m pretty sure you can only be good at one or the other). From horror to action to comedy (and much discussion about the merits of underwear – you’ll see), our picks spanned the genres proving that it does not matter what type of film you are promoting, just whether or not you are able to grab people’s attention. Listed in no particular order, let us know in the comments if you agree, disagree or if there was a trailer you loved that we missed on our list.

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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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This started out as a list of overrated movies, but we (“we” being Rob Hunter and Kevin Carr, rabblerousers) decided fairly quickly that “overrated” is an overused and abused term. Who are we, or anyone, to tell you that you like a movie too much? It’s a rude thing to say regardless of whether or not we’re right. But thanks to the internet sometimes one person’s exuberance can find a virtual megaphone in all the tubes and anonymous users online, and that misguided praise can become deafening. And yes, we’re just as guilty as the rest of you…especially in regard to our first pick below. To be clear, most of these are not bad movies. The majority of them are actually good. But none of them deserved the near-constant accolades that seemed to echo from one corner of the web to another ad nauseum. So without further ado, pomp, or circumstance, here are 11 12 movies (in alphabetical order) you people wouldn’t shut up about in 2011. (**Note, there may be a few minor spoilers below.**)

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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This Week in DVD

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and welcome to a mostly turkey-free edition of This Week In DVD. Two big releases hit shelves this week that on the surface couldn’t be further apart, but in actuality share at least two things in common… both Conan the Barbarian and Super 8 are fun but incredibly flawed. Also out this week are a couple forgettable horror movies from Asia, a mediocre film with a fantastic lead performance (or two), a must own Criterion title and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Adventures of Tintin: Season One Young Tintin is an intrepid reporter constantly on the trail of bad deeds and bad guys as he sets out to solve mysteries along with his dog Snowy and a group of oddball friends and acquaintances. This short-lived series from the early nineties is loosely based on the classic French creation (and shares some specific story elements with the upcoming movie). The adventures are entertaining and filled with action, and they feature elements that never talk down to kids including murder, drug smuggling, alcoholism and more. So yeah, it’s my kind of cartoon.

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Boiling Point

Previously, on Boiling Point… I bitched about Hollywood not releasing enough horror movies in October. This week, I’m taking aim at them for not releasing any monster movies – pretty much ever. I’ve come to ask where all the monsters have gone. Monster movies have a special place in any horror fan’s heart. Whether you’re a fan of giant mutated ants, hybrid beasts, strange aliens, or any crazy old weird thing someone dreamed up that crawled out of a swamp and raped a cheerleader, monsters are awesome. The bigger, badder, and bloodier the better. It seemed for years that even if you weren’t looking for a monster, one would come out of the darkness and tear your face off. Nowadays, you’re hard pressed to get your shit packed in by a mythical beast even if you go defecating on Native American burial grounds.

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Labor Day marks the end of summer, and like every other year the online bitching and moaning about how bad of a summer it was at the movies has already begun. Twenty-one rejects got together for our bi-weekly bake sale/FSR office cleaning day, and we got to thinking. That’s just bullshit. Because there were actually some surprisingly solid and entertaining movies that hit theaters over the past four months. From comic book heroes that soared above the competition, to legendary directors who returned with their best work in decades, to R-rated comedies that made us wet ourselves, to prequels that proved going backwards can sometimes be a genius move, this summer offered up plenty of bang for the buck. So we each jotted down our five favorite films of the summer, assigned a point value to each rank (5 pts for 1st, 4 pts for 2nd, etc), and fed the raw data into our Commodore Vic-20 office computer. It finished processing eighteen hours later, and we ended up with the results below. So screw the haters… let’s embrace the movies that made us laugh, gasp, applaud, and sit up and take notice this past summer. Here are FSR’s Favorite Movies of Summer 2011!

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The Reject Report

So now Harry Potter’s patronus is in the shape of a giant dump truck loaded with million dollar bills. Is there such a thing as a million dollar bill? There probably should be. And while you’re at it, go ahead and put Alan Rickman’s face on it. In J.K. Rowling we trust. Okay, I’m done with all that. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, the last film of the 10-year series, has demolished all kinds of box office records. After breaking advance day records with $32m in tickets sales, it went on to make $43.5m in midnight showings. It wasn’t a shock to anyone when the Friday numbers came in and Deathly Hallows 2 had beaten The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s $72.7m opening day with its own $92.1m. But the young wizard wasn’t done there. No, satisfaction was not met at the defeat of New Moon, though we’re all pretty thankful for it. Deathly Hallows 2, and probably Warners had something to do with it, too, had its eyes set on that opening weekend. Another Warners film, The Dark Knight, was holding the #1 weekend slot for three years with its $158.4m three-day take. Now that Sunday’s numbers have come out, Deathly Hallows 2 has pretty much swept the floor with that record, too.

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Fresh off of her head turning performance in this year’s breakout comedy hit Bridesmaids Melissa McCarthy is riding her momentum right into the next Judd Apatow movie. The new film is a revisiting of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s married couple from Knocked Up that was once and may still be titled This is Forty. McCarthy is said to be playing the mother of a child that attends the same school Rudd and Mann’s children do, and her kid is going to be played by Super 8’s Ryan Lee. There aren’t any more details than that, but I’m guessing that her character will also be loud and mouthy. Gotta dance with the one who brought you. Despite the fact that she was the big revelation of Bridesmaids, and she’s got a bunch of film offers coming her way, McCarthy is still one of the stars of the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. Probably she’s going to need to get out of that deal, because while I haven’t actually seen it, I hear that show is pretty atrocious. We can’t be having a big network anchor tied around our neck when that Apatow money starts rolling in, know what I mean? I say we start a free Melissa McCarthy petition. [THR]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and commentary column that is a little disoriented at the moment. But don’t worry, it will find its way. Oh, there’s a few Michael Bay-related stories to talk about. That’s so much better… With the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon happening this evening at 9pm or midnight or whatever, there’s been a lot of talk about Michael Bay, the most divisive man in cinema (at the moment). Today brought several must-reads, including GQ’s Oral history of Michael Bay exposé, which chronicles the life and times of the man who demands it all to be awesome. I also enjoyed this defense of Michael Bay piece by Jacob Hall at Movies.com. It’s a delightful look at the internal struggle movie-lovers face when confronted with pure, unfiltered awesome.

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We applaud you, Pixar. Your cash-cow generating skills are unmatched even when you don’t seem to be putting in the same amount of effort as usual. Such is the case with Cars 2, a Pixar movie that isn’t exactly universally loved. I know. That’s groundbreaking in and of itself. But despite being a critical underachiever, Cars 2 still managed to lap its competitors and fall in line with much of Pixar’s slate. It’s $68m weekend puts it at #5 on the opening chart for the studio, ahead of Wall-E and just under 2009’s Up. This opening also puts the movie at #4 on the all-time biggest June opening in history, a list whose top five includes three Pixar films. Wall-E’s $63m opening weekend in 2008 and Toy Story 3’s $110.3m opening from last year are the other two.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly round-up of movie news and informational links that will marry whomever it damn well pleases, male, female, alien or otherwise. Except /Film’s Page 2, that bitch never called it back. She thinks she’s so cool because she’s on a “legitimate” film site that “people actually read.” Bitches be trippin’. Our most photogenic story tonight, a first official look at John Cusack in The Raven (working title) as the tormented Edgar Allen Poe. Lets face it, if that hair (facial and cranial) is real, we should be impressed. Also impressive is the expansive amount of Cusack-related news included in tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark, so stick around.

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Despite the fact that he had no prior acting experience before entering into the Super 8 casting process, young actor Joel Courtney ended up being cast as the star of that high profile, J.J. Abrams directed film. And, beyond that, he gave a strong, authentic performance that did a great job anchoring the film and probably turned the heads of a lot of casting people in Hollywood. So, naturally, there’s starting to be some word about what his next projects will probably look like. Firstly, Courtney is set to play Tom Sawyer in Jo Kastner’s adaptation of the Mark Twain novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. We’ve seen him dressed up as a movie geek from the 80s and he pulled it off well, I guess it’s time to see if he can embody barefoot river rat from the late 1800s as well. That film is set to start shooting in August.

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The Reject Report

And around and around it goes. Kind of like the box office. It comes and goes, and sometimes you look around and wonder what exactly is changing? Well, the movies are getting bigger. The animation is getting slicker. And the sequels are starting to take over. They’ve even got PIXAR in their grubby claws this weekend. Cars 2 is the big Summer movie, the likeliest candidate to the the top spot, but where will it rank among the rest of Pixar’s slate? Does Bad Teacher have a shot at a big opening? Is Ryan Reynolds still flying around space or did he get eaten by the Super 8 monster? Okay, that last question probably won’t be broached, but we’ll hit on everything else in this week’s Reject Report.

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$300m. That’s the number that came out earlier this week for Green Lantern‘s price tag. Warner Brothers were backing this horse all the way to the finish line, and though it crossed first, it didn’t exactly lap the competition. Most analysts expected the latest DC/WB comic book adaptation to rake in between $50-55m for the weekend, and that’s exactly where it fell, right smack dab in the middle of that range, in fact. Though that’s not a stunning haul for a film that cost this much, it does fit it in rather nicely with the other DC/WB properties’ opening weekends.

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The Reject Report

In darkened theaters… In brightest lobbies… Yeah, I’m not finishing that. Instead I’m looking forward at what’s in those darkened theaters this weekend. We have Green Lantern. We have Mr. Popper’s Penguins. We also have the returning Super 8 looking to hold onto that nostalgia for one more weekend. One of these is sure to come out on top of the heap. The other two will be submerged into a vat of self-pity. Unless the winner is the penguin movie. Then all three films as well as American audiences should really take a hard look in the mirror and gauge their worth. But I’m not judging. It’s the Reject Report, and no evil shall escape our site. Lame.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s here! And it is completely creeped out by the image above. It still loves Eugene Levy, and will continue to deliver all the best movie news and tidbits from around the web, but know that it is now uncomfortable. We begin tonight with a first look at Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs on the set of American Reunion. Over at the ad-riddled site Collider, there are a number of photos of the cast as they get back together for yet more Pie. I suppose we should be excited about this.

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Editor’s Note: This article contains words that often arrange themselves into SPOILERS and should not be read by anyone. Cole Abiaus was a bit too kind in his full review of Super 8 and glossed over the disaster that is the film’s third act, but it’s still worth a read for everything he got right, so check it out here. As a response to the review and to start a discussion on some of the film’s secrets, Robert Fure and Rob Hunter have compiled the list below of the things they liked and the things they didn’t. Give it a read and then let us know what you thought of the movie below.

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In fairness, this is the sort of thing that we would usually hold for the next edition of Movie News After Dark. But it’s simply too neat to ignore for the next 20 hours. You need to see the artistry and imaginative design put into this poster for The Case, the film being made by the young characters in J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. As those who have seen the movie will note, The Case is one of the highlights of Super 8, becoming the one constant that swirls around the lives of its characters. The making of The Case is the impetus for much of the film’s happenstance, which leads to the film’s adventure, which as you might expect, leads to all the best moments. It’s easy to see why artist Yehudi Mercado — who happens to be the same artist behind the Game of Thrones of Muppets art I featured last night — chose to celebrate it with this lovely fan piece, complete with lens flairs.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s usually a rather tame and family friendly nightly column that rounds up all the best and most interesting news and views from the world of film. It’s worth noting, as it doesn’t always lead with headlines about Anne Hathaway’s rear end. It’s usually something Doctor Who or Michael Bay related. Pick your poison, I suppose. This will likely go down as the dumbest lead story I’ve ever run in MNAD, but the Sunday edition works on the conceit that movie news happens over the weekend. Spoiler: movie news doesn’t usually happen over the weekend, so we’re doing our best. Also, do you really have a problem talking about Anne Hathaway’s ass? Apparently the tightness of her costume and aggressiveness of her stunt work on the set of The Dark Knight Rises has given other cast and crew a unique view of her hind-quarters. There’s something news-worthy in that, I’m sure of it.

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