The Kids Are All Right

Lisa Cholodenko

Director Lisa Cholodenko’s latest film, and her biggest success to date, was the domestic drama with paternity issues The Kids Are All Right. Starring names like Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, and Josh Hutcherson, The Kids Are All Right was an ensemble acting piece, and essentially a small in scope character study, so it may come as some surprise that the newest project the direct has in the works sounds like it’s going to be pretty plot-heavy. The Wrap reports that Cholodenko has signed on to make a political thriller called November Criminals. Set in Washington D.C., this Steve Knight- (Eastern Promises) penned script tells the story of a student who has to explore the underbelly of Washington society in order to investigate the death of a classmate. Those details, in conjunction with the film’s title, probably serve as a good indication that this story isn’t going to be a very kind representation of our current political system.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Crowding a movie with talent often seems like a good idea only in the abstract sense. In practice, such films can easily feel overstuffed. For example, the basic conceits for both The Expendables and Grown Ups sound like products of wishful thinking held during a drunk conversation between a group of 19-year-olds at 3am. Yes, in theory a movie featuring all of the action stars of the 80s or the most successful SNL cast since the late-70s would be great – however, a bunch of famous people do not a seminal action film or great comedy make. What’s most surprising about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is that the whole somehow proved greater than its parts. A movie with this quantity of iconic superheroes runs the incredible risk of being overstuffed and only half-cooked. The standards created by previous Hollywood films indicate that studios would be happy enough allowing the conflagration of bankable characters stand in for (or, more accurately, distract from the lack of) actual entertainment value; mammoth opening weekends, after all, are always more a sign of effective marketing than good filmmaking. But The Avengers not only stands as an equal to some of the stronger entries in Marvel’s 4-year, 5-film multiverse-building, but is arguably superior. Some of these characters came across more fully-fleshed and three-dimensional as part of an ensemble than in their respective standalone films.

read more...

Culture Warrior

For the first time in recent memory, I’m going into Oscar Sunday having no idea who is likely to take home many of the major awards. I’m sure there are entire websites out there devoted to an accurate prediction of who and what will take home the gold on Sunday, but there seems something a bit different about this year. Of the nine films nominated, I don’t have a clear sense of what would be the top five had AMPAS not changed the number of entries in the top category. While The Artist may clearly have more of a chance than, say, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there’s no grand battle between likely leads like there was between The King’s Speech and The Social Network last year. And I don’t think I’m alone in stating that this year’s uninspiring list of nominees seems to reflect a growing indifference against the ceremony itself. Sure, on Sunday, like I have every year since I was eleven years old, I’ll watch the entire ceremony from beginning to end. And, like every year since I was twenty-one years old, I’ll make fun of the pompous and excessive self-congratulatory nature of the proceedings. But while in most years I have had some skin in the game, besides the two nominations afforded to the excellent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the presence of the transcendentally excellent Pina in the Best Documentary Feature category, this year I didn’t even get a sense that the Academy was awarding […]

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that’s a little tired, a little wired, and it thinks it deserves a little bit of appreciation around here! We begin this evening with a shot of Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, some old burly man and Thor’s Jamie Alexander on the set of The Last Stand. It’s good to see that The Governator hasn’t lost that charming expression.

read more...

This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. This Sunday’s 83rd Annual Academy Awards will be the second year in a row featuring ten nominees up for Best Picture, and once again that means a list inflated with titles that have zero chance of winning the award. No one really believes the idea was a good one, but it caters to a wider array of movie fans happy to see their favorite of the year get nominated. The five “actual” contenders this year are Black Swan, The Fighter, 127 Hours, The King’s Speech, and The Social Network with those final two films as the front-runners. The nominees are listed below with my prediction for the winner in red…

read more...

This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. As I mentioned in the Best Adapted Screenplay post, the process of making a film involves thousands of moving parts and pieces from the actors to the director to the caterers and beyond, but arguably the most integral aspect of the process is the script. I say arguable, but I’m only being polite. The script is the most important part of a film… it’s responsible for the words coming out of the actors’ mouths, for the shifts in story, for the very tale itself. Actors bring it to life and the director makes it a visual reality, but it all starts from the script. Some folks may argue otherwise, but an original screenplay is far tougher to write than one adapted from a previously existing source. The heavy lifting has all been done for you when the story beats are already laid out in a book, play, or previous film. An original screenplay demands the writer create and craft everything from scratch, from the characters to the story, and the ones who get it right deserve a bigger statuette than their “Adapted Screenplay” contemporaries. And yes, I’m kidding. Anyone who completes a screenplay, whether it be an original or an adaptation, whether it win an award or not, whether it gets produced or not… you have my respect and awe. The nominees are listed below with my prediction […]

read more...

This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. The Best Supporting Actor category is one of the most interesting. As Cole and I discussed last week, there really is no stable definition of what constitutes a “supporting” role, so this category can run the gamut from scene-stealers (Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight) to memorable parts with a limited amount of screen time (Hal Holbrook for Into the Wild) to nominations that seem only to be banking off the presence of a film in other categories (Matt Damon for Invictus). Fortunately this year saw five pretty strong nominees (and three first-time nominees), but this year also exhibits the potential variance of the category. Here we have a crack addict, a sperm donator, a townie gangster, an unqualified speech therapist, and somebody named “Teardrop.” Let’s see how these five incredibly different performances size up against one another. With my winner prediction in red, here are the nominees:

read more...

This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. Some of you might be confused as to what the Best Actress category is exactly. Don’t worry; it’s easy enough to explain. You see, Best Actress is just like the award for Best Actor, except it’s for people with lady parts only. Why there needs to be a gender distinction when it comes to giving out awards for acting performances is beyond me. Is there something inherent in one of the genders that would give them the edge when it comes to acting? Or maybe this is a relic of an older Hollywood where all of the really meaty roles were written for men and actresses didn’t have much more to do than be the object of affection? I think we’re past that point now. I would argue not just that female actors put out work equal to male actors in 2010, but also that they were on the whole given more interesting characters to play. I say that this is the year where we need to band together and call for the end of award discrimination. Who’s with me? Maybe you should look over the nominees first. They are as follows, with my winner prediction in red.

read more...

This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Awards Season junkie and editor-in-chief of In Contention, Kris Tapley, joins us to shoot the bull on the Oscars. We’ll be roasting that bull on a spit and serving it for our live-blog next month. Could Natalie Portman lose her sure-thing Oscar? Why did Inception never have a chance at Best Picture? Who will win Best Costume Design?!? We ask the tough questions. And then answer them. Plus, we also review The Mechanic in case you’d rather see something blow up besides an actor giving a thank you speech. Listen Here: Download This Episode

read more...

At the end of the 90s, famous Oscar show writer and Celebrity Fit Club contestant Bruce Vilanch claimed that, “Generally with the Oscars…there isn’t much you can do until the nominations are announced. Then you know what kind of year you’re dealing with – what’s been overlooked, what the issues are.” He was talking about preparing to write the show, but it applies to everyone from the directors, producers and stars on down to the fans. It’s fun to guess around the water cooler (your office still has a water cooler?), but until now, it’s all been speculation. Thankfully, almost all that speculation has been spot on, so we can all continue our conversations about whether Black Swan will beat The Social Network for Best Picture. Whether Natalie Portman has any true competition for Best Actress. Whether, most importantly of all, Colleen Atwood will beat Mary Zophres for Best Costume Design. Here they are. The 2011 Academy Award nominees:

read more...

I love the Golden Globes despite never wanting to watch them. They are irrelevant in a way that’s completely freeing – meaning that the host can get drunk, the honorees can get drunk, and a lot of yelling can take place during the celebration. I imagine it’s a lot like what the Oscars used to be before they were ever televised. Don’t get me wrong. For the winners, it’s an auspicious occasion. It’s one more group (a diverse one at that) honoring great work done. For movie fans though, the broadcast is pure spectacle, and as someone who has stood next to Foreign Press members asking about what type of underwear Daniel Radcliffe wears, it’s also difficult to take the night all that seriously. Here in the sober light of day, are the winners. Feel free to speculate as to what this means for the Oscars.

read more...

The Producers Guild of America is known for aligning its picks with the Oscar nominations with the startling regularity that can only come when two groups share the same voting pool. That’s why groups like, say, the Hollywood Foreign Press (who I think actually nominated a nip-slip video this year) doesn’t match up at all. The PGA, which announced its award nominees today, went 9 for 10 last year, and by the looks of this list, they might just do it again in 2011.

read more...

This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Rob Hunter drops by to help us countdown our favorites of 2010 while looking forward to the New Year’s Resolutions the filmmakers of the future should adhere to. Out with old, in with the old. Plus, we would have found time to review the releases of the week if there were any. We can’t wait for the executives to get back to work, either. Listen Here: Download This Episode

read more...

As I expressed earlier in the week as our 2010 Year in Review began, I take it as a great honor that I am able to put together my list of the Best Films of the Year as part of my Editor’s Picks entry. And while I’m a massive fan of my own perspective and opinions, I’m an even bigger fan of the writing and ever-diverse tastes of the Film School Rejects reviewing staff. These are the folks who, through their sensational (and often divisive) review-writing, keep you coming back for more each and every day. They travel the world and brave the crowds at festivals, conventions, preview screenings and special events to bring you some of the industry’s sharpest, most honest film coverage. And I for one am honored to have them all on this team. Just as I did last year, I couldn’t wait to see which films each writer would put on their Top 5 lists as the best films of the year. And just as they did last year, they didn’t disappoint with their unique, ever-fascinating selections. So read on dear reader, as we present the crown jewel of our 2010 Year in Review: The Staff Picks.

read more...

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.

read more...

The nominations for the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards will have been out for almost an entire day by the time you read this, so you’ve undoubtedly had plenty of time to scratch your heads and wonder, “hey, what about that Coen Brothers movie?” And while we still don’t have an answer to that one, we can see that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (or HFPA, as they are known to their friends) did slip in a few surprises in their 68th year. Don’t let anyone say that they can’t still be hip. So here, along with a list of all the film-related nominees, is a list of five interesting and (sometimes) pleasant surprises.

read more...

The top nominations for this year’s Indie Spirit Awards are no surprise. Winter’s Bone continues its march through the woods to find its father and an Oscar with 7 nominations (which is almost all it was even eligible for). In a close second, The Kids Are All Right finds itself with 5 nominations. If you’re a fan of female directors, this year is celebrating a number of them in the top spots, but it’s also incredibly important to point out that Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Murray are finally up for the same award. The Indepdenent Spirit Awards make a good primer for the films that might make their way into the Academy Award nominee pool. In recent tradition, the winner of the Best Feature prize goes on to be an Oscar contender (and occasional winner). Examples of that include Precious, The Wrestler, Juno, and Brokeback Mountain. The full list of nominees continues below:

read more...

Join us each week as Rob Hunter takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week sees two titles worth buying, and they’re both Criterion releases. Also out and worthy of your time or dismissal are A Christmas Carol, RoboGeisha, Best Worst Movie, The Kids Are All Right, an even longer cut of Avatar, and more.

read more...

Culture Warrior

For better or worse, this summer of movies is over, and now we’re in the early-Fall transition into the inevitable season of so-called “serious” awards-friendly films, films that supposedly say a lot about human nature and our time and place as a culture. However, I’ve always contended that it is often the films that seemingly exist only for “entertainment’s sake” that have the most to say about culture, mainly because they operate in such a way that allows us to turn our minds off, passively consume them, and therefore go along unquestionably with the socio-political presumptions explicitly or implicitly embedded within their narratives. Such films that purport to exist solely for entertainment value often end up telling us a lot about how and what we think about the present, and it just so happens that these types of films are most often relegated to the summer months. Summer movies in 2010 ranged from highbrow to lowbrow, blockbuster to indie to sleeper, with head-scratchers and brain-cell-killers alike, but many of these films, intentionally or not, had something to say or assume about the present cultural moment.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Amongst the universal critical applause currently being bestowed upon Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, one bit of praise seems to connect them all: that the film isn’t didactic or preachy regarding the same-sex couple at its center. In other words, it’s a film about a gay couple but doesn’t overtly shout that it’s about a gay couple; the premise isn’t addressed as if it were unique, exceptional, or odd – nor is it, arguably, a major source of the film’s comedy – rather the film proceeds without seeming intent on making a statement on gay couples or gay child-raising in contemporary society.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3