Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Curse of the Golden Flowers at Wulong

Whether or not you have any desire to see Transformers: Age of Extinction, this week’s list of recommended movies is worth a look. I’ve even tried to avoid spoiler-y relevance for once, although I guess that doesn’t matter if you have no interest in the movie at all. Consider this a mere checklist of titles to catch up with after or instead of seeing the fourth Transformers. As usual, most of them are linked to something or someone in the new release in question, mainly for a better, earlier reference point for scenarios and tropes and themes. None of them require your viewing of Age of Extinction to appreciate them overall, though. Before I get to the movies, I’d like to note some non-movie recommendations. One is the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, unless you’re some person without a sense of humor who is glad actor T.J. Miller only has a little bit of screen time in the new Transformers. Another is any match featuring Olympic gold medalist turned professional boxer Zou Shiming, who plays an extra in an elevator who just happens to know martial arts (because Hollywood thinks all Chinese people do). Many can be found on YouTube. There’s also Transformers: The Premake, a video essay that I guess could count as a movie. I already wrote plenty about that recently.

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samantha

If you’re hoping for a deep exploration of the connection between women and firearms, Cathryne Czubek’s documentary A Girl and a Gun will fail you. There is little to this 76-minute film that isn’t very obvious and sometimes even oblivious. Or maybe the aim wasn’t to bother with the heavy psychoanalytic notions of guns being extensions of masculinity because of their phallic shape as much as their capability for dominance. It’s a light piece of nonfiction, not even going for much political address let alone agenda, in spite of the national conversation going on this year. As far as missing out on timeliness, though, it’s mostly a shame the doc was produced too soon to be informed by or point to Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, with its strong barrel-fellating imagery. There are a lot of film clips here, too. Shots from your basic female-heavy action movies, such as Terminator 2, Aliens, Wanted, Resident Evil, Kick-Ass, Kill Bill, Foxy Brown, and wronged-women dramas like Enough and Sleeping With the Enemy, as well as a few films noir (albeit with little recognition of the femme fatale character in general) and all the way back to Edison’s Annie Oakley short from 1894. No mention of Jean-Luc Godard’s famous line about how all you need to make a film is “a girl and a gun,” but that doesn’t exactly have anything to do with a girl with a gun. Besides, this isn’t a film studies documentary.

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IntroRelatives

Being on a movie set can be a blast – especially when you don’t have to do anything. It’s not hard to imagine that with every great actor or director there’s probably a nagging cousin or sibling who wants to be part of that sweet sitting around action. And how the hell are they going to say no? Giving mom a line is a small price to pay for 18 years of guaranteed food and shelter, right? How can an actor resist sticking their kid in a shot or two? It happens a lot – so much so that the following 15 are only the tip of the iceberg.

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Sometimes you just have to punch a wall, or perhaps a car door, or a ceramic cat – really, it’s whatever is closest. Whether it is rage, retribution, or legitimate hatred, sometimes an inanimate object just has to go down. In the moving pictures this is especially fun to watch. Much like a movie death is often more dramatic than reality, a little inanimate destruction goes a long way.

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Well, it’s the beginning of September, and the Summer days of giant robots and even bigger explosions is now behind us. We here at Film School Rejects don’t want the Summer movie season to be over just yet, so we’re going back to one of the biggest Summer movies of our collective childhood for this week’s Commentary Commentary. The master of giant budget films, James Cameron, is just the person to take us back, too. This week, we’re going into Cameron’s mind to see what he has to say about Terminator 2: Judgment Day, not the director’s biggest movie but definitely the blockbuster that put him on the Summer map. Even better, it features Arnold Schwarzenegger in his least expendable role yet. Let’s not forget the quips, either. So say, “Hasta la vista, baby,” to the intro and let’s get into the good stuff. Here they are, all 42 things we learned listening to James Cameron and co-writer William Wisher talk about Terminator 2.

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It seems that when it comes to tales of good and evil – we often see anything besides good winning and evil losing as some kind of a cop out. Like… we’d rather see the villain fall to their death or be eaten by hyenas than learn the error of their ways -something that’s more than evident in Disney films, which have featured both killer hyenas and high places. But, you know – when a bad guy ultimately turns good, if done right, it’s way better to watch. More often than not they still usually end up dying horrible, so there’s that too, but at least they die good. There’s probably going to be a lot of spoilers below.

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If I had to pick two things that I just can’t get enough of in films, it would have to be a good underdog story and gratuitous physical violence. It is only natural then that I would build a humble list of some of my favorite moments in cinema where the two are combined. When I think about what makes a fight particularly one-sided, it actually has less to do with the amount of people that the hero is up against and more about the hero’s strengths, or rather lack thereof. But then there’s always going to be an ‘awesome’ factor to think about, because when it is all said and done the hero usually triumphs against the odds – so the means in which they do such a thing is very important to me; being badass certainly has its merits, but in most cases, being creative is far more impressive.

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