The Dilemma

Boiling Point

They say laughter is the best medicine and well, world, I’m dying here. I need my medicine. I need to laugh. I need to be entertained, but it seems every time I try to chuckle these days, someones standing right there to make me feel bad about it. Over the last few weeks in this column, I’ve mostly pointed the finger at big corporate entities bowing to some outside force, whether it’s a perceived notion that they must be politically correct to the point of being historically incorrect or whether it’s removing a joke that probably cost thousands of dollars to animate to not offend a small handful of people in a far off land with a disease that’s rapidly disappearing. Today, I point my finger elsewhere. I point it at you. I point it at them. I point it at us, a society that has lost its sense of humor – and that is a damn shame.

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This Week in DVD

It’s a light week on the DVD front but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing good being released today. One of our festival favorites (A Somewhat Gentle Man) from last year’s Fantastic Fest is finally getting a release, and it’s well worth a blind buy for fans of strong acting, humorous Fargo-esque stories, and Stellan Skarsgard. The somewhat maligned Green Hornet is also hitting shelves, and if you missed it in theaters it’s worth a rental as a lightweight but fun action romp. But they’re not all winners this week… Ron Howard’s tone-deaf comedy(?) The Dilemma comes out too. Identity This new series from the UK follows a specialized police unit in London that handles cases involving identity thieves and their unhappy (or occasionally dead) victims. Once again the UK comes through with another cop/criminal series that manages to be both entertaining and interesting as well as featuring an engaging, charismatic, and extremely troubled lead. Aidan Gillen’s DI John Bloom is an “ends justify the means” kind of cop (the best kind), and his past life working undercover with the Turkish mob offers an equally fascinating side storyline. Great stuff.

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Drinking Games

What would you do if you found out your best friend’s wife was cheating on him? I’ll tell you what I’d do… I’d get myself a drink. Then I’d sit my best friend down, pour him a drink and show him The Dilemma. If he doesn’t figure it out by then, tough beans. A dilemma like this might not be as fun as a night on the town with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, but you can get a taste of it with the film of the same name.

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The Reject Report

Good for Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, and all the other oddly named people involved in The Roommate. Not only did it come out #1 on this Super Bowl weekend, not only was it able to beat out the James Cameron-backed Sanctum, but it was the only film this weekend to even get into double digits. I’m not sure if that says a lot for The Roommate, the current slate of movies available for the masses, or the power of the Super Bowl draw away from the movie theaters. You can’t really put much of the blame for the weekend’s weak numbers. The past three years have had films open in the $20 or $30-million area. In 2009, Taken opened on Super Bowl weekend with $24.7 million, and that can’t even be considered counter-programming to the big game. Not like last year or 2007 when Dear John and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour opened to a $30.4 and $31.1 million, respectively. So the Super Bowl was a draw away from the movies.

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The Reject Report

A year ago last week, James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar beat out Titanic to be the highest domestic grossing film of all time. Cameron just happened to be the director on the monstrously successful Titanic, too. You all know this. What you might not have known is that Cameron is back, and this time, he’s going spelunking. Sanctum is sure to be Cameron’s next grand excursion into box office glory and could very well beat even Avatar’s record breaking numbers. What’s that? Cameron didn’t direct Sanctum? He just produced it? But the trailers…oh, never mind. Tank.

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The Reject Report

That wacky Anthony Hopkins sure knows how to turn ‘em in. With his broad hijinx and penchant for silly string gimmicks. The devil might have had something to do with it, too, as The Rite opened to number one this weekend. It’s opening wasn’t as big as you might expect, but it did a decent job. With a reported budget of $37 million, it should be fine with its mid-teen debut. That is unless you’re going by Kevin Smith math, in which case, the film is a serious dud. That’s a digression for another time, though. The Rite will do just fine, and Hopkins is sure to make many more stinkers films before his days in films have come to a close. His Hannibal days have long since passed, and you aren’t likely to see many more $100-million films from him beyond any franchise work.

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The Reject Report

Sometimes timing really is everything. Blue Monday (it’s a real date) came and went, and moviegoers were looking for something to make them laugh. Something that didn’t include Kato vision and Christoph Waltz shooting people in the face. Add into that the love Natalie Portman is raking in for her own downer performance in Black Swan, and you’ve got a formula for success in No Strings Attached. The romantic comedy was anything but a monster success. It claims the biggest opening for an Ivan Reitman film besides Ghostbusters II. It’s a long ways from being the biggest opening for either Portman or her co-star Ashton Kutcher. You do have to remember she was in the Star Wars prequels, each of which made more in their opening day than what No Strings Attached pulled in the last three days. Nonetheless, the R-rated rom-com succeeded in opening in the #1 slot and pulling in a bit more than what was expected. With a reported budget of only $25 million, the film is already well on its way to being a decent success. Because Kutcher needs more success in his life. Poor guy.

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The Reject Report

Yeah. Now get that song out of your head. Good luck with that. When you’re done, head on out to see a movie. There isn’t much new to partake in this weekend, but, if you’re a big fan of Natalie Portman, Bruce Willis’ son, or Olivia Thirlby (we can just assume on that last one), then you might want to check out the lone candidate for new releases. You enjoy the rest of the report. I’m gonna continue to sing Pinocchio songs to myself.

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Yeah. You read that right. It’s got sting. Like a bee. Like a bee that stings. And all the other movies just got stung. That’s right. The Green Hornet didn’t beat out Cloverfield’s record-setting opening for January, but it did succeed in having the biggest opening for any Seth Rogen film that isn’t animated. It also had a bigger opening this weekend than all of Michel Gondry’s other openings combined. I guess that says something. I can’t help but think The Green Hornet would have had an even bigger opening had it released in Summer where it truly belongs. It’s a fun, Summer, blockbuster that got unjustifiably dumped here in January. That knocked its opening numbers down by at least $10 million, a complete guesstimate on my part. It didn’t help that the film was being shot down by critics and moviegoers alike before anyone had even seen it. It’s hard to get past that type of prejudgment, and this opening isn’t necessarily a clear indicator of hit or bomb in any capacity.

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The Week That Was

It’s been another awesome week here at Film School Rejects. We launched several new columns, including our first action-centric weekly romp (Bullet Points), a feature focused on Cole Abaius and Landon Palmer’s IM conversations (Talking Heads) and our two new dailies (Vintage Trailer and News After Dark) are going strong. The hard work is happening, and hopefully you’ve noticed. If not, that’s okay. You will soon. For now, lets focus on the best articles of the week as we explore The Week That Was.

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The Reject Report

I know. I know. The Green Reject Report? That’s the best you can come up with? It’s not like it’s a title we might not use every again. When Green Zone hit last year, it opened against a few other notable titles that took the headline (This Week’s Reject Report Is Out Of My League). With Green Lantern hitting this coming June, another opportunity to use this week’s title might present itself. But we don’t think about the future. We cross those bridges when we come to them. So, while we’re eating our red meat and smoking our cigarettes, we’ll just do with The Green Reject Report for this week. Onto the movies.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a trench coat and hat, wears a mask and runs around the streets of his fair city with his strong and agile Asian manservant. The plan: When arrested, tell the police he is trying to emulate the crime-fighting career of the Green Hornet. If he can get away with that, he plans on tracking down two doughy but funny guys who are having sexual relations with super-hot Hollywood type ladies and try to steal their girlfriends away. Or, he just might sit on the couch and watch movies after telling you what he thinks of The Green Hornet and The Dilemma.

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Once upon a time Vince Vaughn and his motormouth soliloquies could steal the show in any bromance, romantic comedy or 70s TV remake. The man could talk about nothing but being a motor boating son of gun and it would provide a much need laugh to a half-baked comedic plot. In The Dilemma, he officially ran out of gas and is running on empty with not even vapors to help him out. Vaughn stars here as Ronny Valentine, who is the dynamic in the duo with automobile partner Nick Brannen played by fellow jelly bellied comic, Kevin James. As Ronny and Nick are about to make a lifetime deal with Dodge-Chrysler Motors, Ronny sees Nick’s wife Geneva (Wynona Ryder) knocking boots with young hipster Zip (Channing Tatum). This not only puts Ronny in a bind to either tell Nick  or lose the lifetime deal, but alienates him from his heart-of-gold girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly). What follows is a series of dead-end soliloquies and stalker antics by Vaughn with intermittent and awkward sermons about gambling addiction followed by a return to the bromantic “dilemma” at hand.

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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. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of December combing through Wikileaks, calling Cleo, and building balsa wood trailers to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in January. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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Before he falls down comically for the MMA film he’s making, Kevin James is going to have to fall down the good old fashioned way. In The Dilemma, the film adaptation of the song “Silence is Golden,” James stars alongside Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Connelly, and Winona Rider for the story of a man who sees his best friend’s wife cheating and has to figure out what to do. Do you say something or stay silent?

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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