The Guard

This Week in DVD

Welcome to 2012 and the last year of your life! That’s not me threatening you by the way, it’s the Mayans. And who better to predict the end of civilization than a culture that’s long since gone extinct. This week’s DVD releases are filled with other things looking to kill you including Contagion, Shark Night, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and a really well put together woman named Frankenhooker. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Guard A smuggling ring in a small Irish seaside town draws the attention of an FBI agent (Don Cheadle), and he’s forced to team up with a local cop (Brendan Gleeson) of dubious morality if he hopes to crack the case. John Michael McDonagh’s wonderfully foul and often witty black comedy offers a great pairing with Gleeson and Cheadle playing off of each other to perfection. Gleeson in particular shines as a rude, sarcastic and possibly racist hick who may be a better comedian than police officer. This one gets compared to the superior In Bruges for a few different reasons, but it stands quite strong on its own.

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Hundreds of movies are released each year in theaters or straight to DVD, and a large percentage of them suck. A much smaller group though are fantastic slices of cinema that thrill, excite, invigorate and entertain, and while some of them are recognized at the box office many more are left to die a quick and undeserved death. And it’s essentially your fault. Of course I don’t mean you specifically, but instead I’m referring to the average American movie-goer who chose not to see these movies in the theater. They ignored the critical acclaim, reviews and recommendations from sites like ours and instead bought multiple tickets for the latest Twilight or Transformers movie. So while it’s too late to affect their box office returns (most of them anyway), Jack Giroux and Rob Hunter have put together a list of eleven movies that deserved far better treatment in 2011.

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As I wrote in both my review and interview with Gary Oldman and Tomas Alfredson, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not one’s average spy thriller. The espionage lifestyle we see here is cold, lonely, and harsh. Perhaps the character who represents that the finest is Jim Prideaux, played by Mark Strong. Prideaux, like every other character in the film, descends to worse and worse places, emotionally and mentally, as things progress. The character’s as lonely as can be, and Strong conveys that with every somber and sad look on his face. It’s an interesting contrast to another one of Strong’s performances from this year as Clive in The Guard. A lot of actors discuss how they love variety and go for it — and most genuinely mean it — but Strong seems to be one of the prime examples of someone doing it right. A sympathetic villain, an alien superhero, and an isolated spy make up an eclectic bunch of characters. Here’s what Mark Strong had to say about the catharsis of press, the divisiveness of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and the comfortable amount of takes:

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There were some supposed protagonists I loathed this year — everyone in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, that asshole narcissist Hal Jordan, the annoying Jack Sparrow — but there were plenty who showed honorable and, yes, badass traits. 2011 brought a few real American heroes (and from parts elsewhere), both in personality and actions. One doesn’t need superpowers or a gun to be a hero, but, as shown by a few choices I made, those simple good traits. And, even if one’s not the greatest of people, you can still be a great hero, as shown by the a*hole category that kicks off the list…

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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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“Clever” is the best way to describe John Michael McDonagh‘s directorial debut, The Guard. In dialog, structure, the characters, and so forth, it all has a sense of cleverness. The playwright has made a dark comedic western built around (mostly) ignorant characters set in the mysterious and strange land of Ireland. Ever heard of it? Me neither. Many will be pointing out the similarities between John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard and his brother, Martin McDonagh‘s beloved film In Bruges, but there are distinct differences, and that’s clearly an important fact to John Michael. Outside of a specific similarity I mentioned to McDongah, The Guard is its own dark comedy with a could-be-iconic lead, Sergeant Gerry Boyle (played by Brendan Gleeson). Here’s what writer/director John Michael McDonagh had to say about his writing process, the button pushing ways of Sergeant Gerry Boyle, and twisting conventions:

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The Reject Report

Some aliens are stupid. Other aliens are crazy. Some aliens are just in love, but we usually don’t see these aliens between May and August. No one wants to see alien love in their Summer blockbusters. They want explosions and people shooting those aliens with well-placed bullets. Which brings us to this weekend, where two films about aliens getting blasted by pesky humans find release. Of course, one is having a much larger opening than the other, and neither of them feature Smurfs. That’s right. I said Smurfs. We’ll talk about them here, too. Enjoy this week’s Reject Report, and if you want loving aliens, come back in November.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as DogEatsHeart and 5Obstructions5 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair apply some sun screen and some green screen in order to forecast how the movies of Summer 2011 might shape up. Is there a secret weapon to its inevitable success? Is its success inevitable? Anything would be better than last year, right?

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Last summer was a good (not great) movie season. Granted, there were some notorious duds with Robin Hood, Jonah Hex, Avatar: The Last Whatever-It’s-Called, the one where Jake Gyllenhaal talked real funny and had his shirt off a lot, and many, many others. And, of course, there were some rather disappointing missed opportunities (*COUGH* Iron Man 2 *COUGH*). But overall, it was a solid time for both big event films and the smaller ones. There were two excellent high profile films (Toy Story 3, Inception) and a handful of great little-seen ones (Animal Kingdom, Cyrus, Solitary Man, etc.). And who could forget about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? This summer will most likely be no different. There are a few films not to get too excited about, but there are plenty of other films to get tingly about. There are two Marvel films, a new frickin’ Terrence Malick epic, a great looking new X-Men…the list goes on and on. In fact, the list goes on right now with the 15 Must See Movies of Summer 2011:

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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