The American

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U2, Nirvana, Depeche Mode, Arcade Fire, Joy Division, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds isn’t a shabby list of names to be associated with in any capacity, and those are just a few of the bands that Anton Corbijn has directed iconic music videos for. The renowned photographer and filmmaker has always presented his subjects through a vision of his own, leading to a long history of famous images. His feature films haven’t been huge hits with the public though. So far Corbijn has only made two pictures – Control and The American – and, by their own accord, they’re not for everybody. The American even downright angered some filmgoers expecting a more action-heavy Clooney picture, but those aren’t the viewers Corbijn is aiming to please. The director is the subject of a new documentary, Anton Corbijn Inside Out, and for the digital release of the film, Corbijn made the time to speak with us. Here’s what he had to say:

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Culture Warrior

The month of September is typically regarded as one of the least exciting and least eventful in the calendar year. It’s something of an interval month, a strange in-between phase sandwiched in the middle of summer Hollywood blockbusters and the “quality” flicks and holiday programming of the fall. In strictly monetary terms, it’s the most underperforming month of the year, and has even been beaten by the desolate burial ground that is January in terms of event-style opening weekends. But this may ultimately be a good thing. In fact, if future Septembers continue to exhibit the same patterns as this month, the time of the year in which schools go back in session and you can no longer wear all-white may prove to be one of the most interesting and exciting months on the wide-release calendar.

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Writer-director Rowan Joffe must love to challenge himself. With The American and his feature film debut, an adaptation of Brighton Rock, Joffe tackles the trickiest of characters: internal, cold ones. Like Jack (a.k.a. Mr. Butterfly), Pinkie is a lead that is always at a distance. He will never let anyone in. Everything remains internal. However, Pinkie is not a sucker for the ladies. Pinkie is a character that is not sympathetic, or likable, and is most likely insane. The gangster is a walking horror film; unpredictable, and will do anything he deems necessary out of fear. He’s insecure, which makes him a serious threat. This idea is, once again, expressed internally. Jack and Pinkie present their own challenges, both to the man behind the typewriter and the audience. Here’s what Rowan Joffe had to say about his enigmatic leads, writing a character-driven film versus a plot-driven film, and correcting Roger Ebert:

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This Week in DVD

The week between Christmas and New Years is historically a busy one for many people as they hustle and bustle their way between stores, parties, and vacation destinations. The home video market recognizes this and responds with probably the lightest week of releases of the entire year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some winners worth bringing home… even if it just temporarily. Titles out this week include The American, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Merantau, Twelve, and the very funny first season of the FX network’s animated spy spoof Archer.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Now that Christmas is over, those of you who partake in the getting of gifts from relatively clueless relatives may have emerged victorious with gift cards to delightfully under-stocked retail stores. What will you do with said gift cards? Will you buy something to put into that shiny new Blu-ray player you also received from Santa (I know you still believe!)?  Unfortunately for many of you, this week’s round of Blu-ray releases isn’t quite as fruitful as one would hope for the week after the big holiday. But I’m sure if you come along with me on a little journey, you might find something worthy of your time and magnetically-striped money.

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The Reject Report

It wasn’t a stunning weekend for the motion picture box office. Not only was it the lowest, cumulative weekend for the top ten films, it was the lowest box office take for a top ten in over two years. However, despite this low number, the blame can’t really fall on the shoulders of the individual films in the market. Rather, the deciding factor on how poorly the overall box office did this weekend was in the fact that only one film got a wide release. In a day and age where we are seeing as many as five or six films hitting thousands of screens on any given weekend, you’re sure to have the lowest weekend of the year when you are only given one.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, movie slave monkey for UGO.com Matt Patches shows up to give us hell. After some witty banter, he and Cole discuss the finer points of racial tension, bring Jan de Bont to a gun fight, and take a look back on our entirely appropriate relationship with Robert Rodriguez. Plus, we find time to review Machete, The American, and Going the Distance.

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The Reject Report

Some times, a Mexi-can’t. That’s what we’re seeing this Labor Day weekend as the strength of George Clooney and the marketing Focus Features pulled for The American were able to sweep Machete under the proverbial rug. It wasn’t a slaughtering, more like the quiet winning out most people who went to see The American this weekend were subjected to.

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Culture Warrior

Considering the history of early September releases, this was an unusually eventful weekend for movies. The champion of the box-office was a slow-paced, meditative art film disguised as a spy thriller, and its major competition was a grindhouse tribute based on a movie trailer and starring a longtime character actor. On the surface, it seems that Anton Corbijn’s The American and Robert Rodriguez’s Machete couldn’t be any different, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that these are two stylistically disparate explorations of virtually the same theme; that is, both The American and Machete are about crises in national and cultural identity that occur when one enters another country and becomes an “other” within their culture.

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Two sub-genres well known in the world of action films are hit men and the concept of “one last job.” But what happens when these tropes are applied to a film that forgoes the action element almost all together? Can they work in a film that’s more of a drama and character study? Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits Of Control would seem to imply the answer was no, but a counter-argument hit theaters this past week that actually proves otherwise. Of course, it helps that Anton Corbijn’s The American also features an interesting plot, an actual narrative, and a silver-haired fox that oozes charisma in the lead role. (Happily, they both feature a beautiful, wise, and frequently nude woman too.)

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr jumps feet first into the world of exploitation pictures. He rips off his shirt to show his prison tats when he sees Machete and then becomes a weapons expert to go head-to-head with George Clooney in The American. Finally, he cringes and rolls his eyes at yet another crappy real-life couple love story with Going the Distance. It’s sad when the highlight of his moviegoing weekend is a Lindsay Lohan nip slip.

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The Reject Report

We’ve got a message. For Arizona! Machete has arrived, and he’s brought his sharp, little buddies with him. For over two years now, fans of Grindhouse have been clamoring for a full length version of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete. Now, they’ve got it, and, more than likely, it will wind up on top of the box office this weekend. It will have some stiff competition, though, as also in wide release are Going the Distance and The American, the newest vehicle for a man who has Rodriguez partially to thank for his film success. It’s gonna be a barn burner. So let’s sit back, crack open a bottle of Dos Equis, and see how the weekend is shaping up.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them by now. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of August going to the local library, making phone calls to important producers and making fan trailers out of macaroni to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in September. Don’t let Machete scare you. If you watch movies, this guide’s for you.

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There’s a new trailer online for one of our most anticipated movies of 2010. Just when you thought George Clooney was out…

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Nobody better warn him. I really want to see how this plays out. Someone make some popcorn or something.

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You can open your eyes now. 2009 is gone, and it’s not coming back. It’s time to move forward, onward and upward, and what better way to start than with the movies we’re most looking forward, onward and upward to?

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theamerican-header

More updates are coming down the pipe from the American Film Market in Santa Monica, with our friends at Collider uncovering a first look at George Clooney in Control director Anton Corbijn’s The American.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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