Taylor Schilling

Orange is the New Black Season 2

Hopefully you’re ready to go back to prison. Orange is the New Black has returned in all of its shower shoe glory (and in its entirety, of course). Since all 13 episodes of season 2 are on Netflix, let’s spend the entire day with Piper, Taystee, Nicky, Red, Alex, Crazy Eyes, Lorna and all the other guests of the Litchfield penal system. When we last left that gigantic cast Red’s lost her power, the Supervisor Sam was a complete jackass and Piper was punching an angel. I’ll be binge-watching and writing down some reactions as we go along, so let’s slide the bars into place and get not-going. Standing still is hard.

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Orange Is The New Black Season 2

Ahhh, prison. Orange is the New Black makes it seem so appealing. You and a bunch of your buddies (divvied up exclusively by race, of course) hanging out, rewiring lamps and only occasionally fighting off a potential stabbing. The second season of Netflix’s simultaneously-upbeat-and-disturbing series debuts on June 6th. And to ring in the new, they’ve released a shiny new trailer, a full-length one that finally gives us all a clue to what we’ll be binge-watching a month and a half from now (beforehand, all we had were these particularly ominous seventeen seconds). This full-on, “Official” trailer actually has a little story to it. Looks like Season 2 will start with Piper (Taylor Schilling) released from solitary (probably something to do with that potential stabbing) and Lorraine Toussaint showing up as a new (and from the looks of it, extremely villainous) resident of Litchfield Correctional. Cue the montage of characters becoming alternately enraged and sassy.

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Movies based on true stories are rarely — if even ever — 100% accurate. To make it an engaging story for an audience, obviously some dramatic license must be used. And for the time constraints of a feature, there has to be a good deal of condensing and abridging and in many cases exclusion. For the full accounts of real life, we may have nonfiction books or magazine articles or the Internet, and these more extensive and comprehensive tools are easily accessed after seeing the film in order to get at the greater truth. Movies based on true stories are more like teasers of true stories. And like most advertisements they have to stretch reality to pique our interest. Argo is certainly that kind of teaser. But are people giving Ben Affleck‘s latest too much credit in the accuracy department? I keep reading stuff about how the actor/director aimed for realism (see the post from yesterday about the film’s sound design), which may be the case in terms of tone and technical accomplishments such as period costumes and production design. There is quality to the recreation of time and place, if not all facts. Meanwhile, many critics are calling this film “stranger than fiction,” which is very misleading given just how much fictionalizing went into the script in order for it to have themes and a whole lot of suspense (too much, in my opinion, near the point of feeling like self-parody).

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Remember when Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, and Tate Donovan all got together to make a movie about a fake movie being made in order to rescue hostages being held in Iran? This trailer is one more slice of proof that Affleck knows what the hell he’s doing behind a camera, especially when it comes to the slightly funny world of serious issues. Instead of crime-riddled Boston, this time it’s the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a fake script called Argo and a crazy attempt at rescuing 6 people. It’s Ocean’s Eleven except the stakes are real, and they’re life-or-death. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The latest cinematic adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel, The Lucky One is a messy, tone-deaf, and laughable movie outing, an embarrassment to director Scott Hicks (Shine, The Boys Are Back), a black mark against Zac Efron‘s attempts at becoming a romantic lead, and an unsurprising continuation of Sparks’s ceaseless attack on what passes for a love story these days. Let’s put it this way – The Lucky One is so dismal, so off-kilter, so nonsensical that even the ever-ready charms of Zac Efron cannot redeem it in the slightest. At its heart, the film hinges on one of Sparks’s most ludicrous conceits yet – Marine Logan Thibault (Efron, more bulked up than ever, yet still unable to even resemble a professional solider)  is “rescued” by a picture of an unknown woman during his third tour of Iraq, a laminated picture of a pretty girl that catches his eye and pulls him away from a structure that blows up right behind him. If he hadn’t gone for the picture, he would be dead – the girl in the photograph saved him. At least, that’s what Logan thinks and what The Lucky One rests on. Convinced he owes some debt to the girl in the picture, Logan embarks on a quest to find her once he returns to the States.

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Atlas Shrugged Part I is a movie brimming with so much frustration that you almost expect the screen it’s playing on to have an aneurysm. It’s an honest attempt at adapting difficult (frankly, non-cinematic) material, and it fails spectacularly on almost every level. Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) is the brains behind a legacy railroading corporation that faces the internal dim-wittedness of its President, James Taggart (Matthew Marsden) and the external hell of a government bent on regulating businesses into non-existence. It’s a Dystopian 2016, but Taggart is on the verge of a sexy and profitable partnership with steel head Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler). He provides an incredible new metal product for her to reform her lines in Colorado, and the day might be saved. But with the government actively trying to redistribute the wealth, will success even matter?

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Who is John Galt, and does anyone care? For all I know, “meh” is not actually a word, but somehow it perfectly describes the new Atlas Shrugged trailer. This movie has been through true development hell – detailing every incarnation would be a long, strange trip, but for some reason, no one’s ever pulled the trigger on it until now. Its 40 year ride through development, through Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe, through Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron, has deposited it here – without any big stars and split up into three films. It sees an appropriate release on April 15th, 2011, and you can check out the trailer for yourself:

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