The Lord of the Rings

There’s nothing more American than cylindrical projectiles. After all – fireworks are loud, volatile, and smell like ash – much like us. While the whole exploding part is pretty gosh darn boss, really the true wonder comes from the pure act of launching something as goddamn far as we possibly can into the air. We like to know that we can conquer all three dimensions. So in the spirit of good ol’ American propulsion lust, here are some of the more excellent tubes that movies have shot into the sky.

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Audiences expecting more of the brand of large maturity found in The Lord of the Rings trilogy might be surprised when they check out The Hobbit. Especially people who’ve never read the books. Same director. Same world. Different style. Talking to Total Film, director Peter Jackson had a lot to say about his journey back to Middle-earth. He’s been kind enough to update fans through production video diaries, but here, he explains that his forthcoming flick will be “more playful” than the previous ones featuring Frodo and his merry band. “The Hobbit is very much a children’s book and The Lord of the Rings is something else; it’s not really aimed at children at all. I realized the characters of the dwarves are the difference. Their energy and disdain of anything politically correct brings a new kind of spirit to it. And that’s why I thought, ‘Okay, this could be fun!,”‘ said Jackson. Not to be a pessimist, but this is Jackson thinking it would be fun after thinking he didn’t want to do it. Still, it will be invigorating to see such a talented director capture the scope of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book and funnel it with a children’s film sensibility. There’s still room for pessimism, but this project has potential to be phenomenal in a totally different way than what the LOTR faithful are used to. That alone is worth the price of admission and the curiosity. Plus, it’s Jackson and Hobbits. What could go wrong?

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Culture Warrior

When I purchased my ticket for the Thursday night midnight show of Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, I had no idea what I was in for; not because I hadn’t seen any of the previous Twilight films – I have, in fact, seen them all – but because I had never seen a Twilight film in a theater before, much less on opening night. The Twilight subculture befuddles me, as I’m sure it does any non-initiate of the series. Having seen all the films, I still feel like I’m viewing them from afar, like it’s some strange anthropological project of a phenomenon whose worth and value I will never fully understand. Twilight seems to encapsulate the drastic changes that have taken place in big-budget event filmmaking in the last thirty years. Rather than a film made with the intent of mass appeal (like franchises ranging from Indiana Jones to Jason Bourne), the Twilight films play almost exclusively to a specific – but dedicated – demographic. Of course, one could make this argument about many film franchises. Everything from Star Trek to The Dark Knight certainly have rabid fanbases at their core, but the audiences for these films seem to be “filled in” with a significant amount of casual fans. For example, I once viewed the Harry Potter films similarly to the way I now approach Twilight – not in terms of filmmaking quality, mind you, but in terms of being a cult phenomenon surrounding a fictional narrative that I […]

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Here’s a fun fact: Prior to 2001’s releases of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, fantasy movies were frequently silly, low-budget shlockfests that actors only wanted to make so they could eat something other than whatever they scraped from under their fridge for another month. (For the record, I am told that this lifestyle — I like to call it Underfridging — is good for bolstering your immune system. On the other hand, high potential for scurvy. Your call.) And since the Harry Potter series has spanned eight films and employed every single actor in Britain at least once (twice in the case of Warwick Davis), you know there’s a treasure trove of painfully cheesy fantasy movies lurking in their collective resumes. Let’s take a look at some of them!

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It’s long been rumored that Orlando Bloom would be reprising his role as the elf Legolas for Peter Jackson’s upcoming two-parter The Hobbit. Giving the whispers, a lot of people have been quick to point out that Bloom coming back wouldn’t make any sense, as Legolas appears nowhere in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. Regardless of mutterings from the purists, the news is now official, as Jackson has used his Facebook Page to confirm: “Ten years ago, Orlando Bloom created an iconic character with his portrayal of Legolas. I’m excited to announce today that we’ll be revisiting Middle Earth with him once more. I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again. Funny thing is, I look older — and he doesn’t! I guess that’s why he makes such a wonderful elf.” When you add this news to the fact that Ian Holm is also confirmed to show up somewhere in this production as Bilbo (who will also be played by Martin Freeman), it becomes clear that Jackson’s films are going to link The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings trilogy much more closely than Tolkien’s books did. What we’re going to see will either have to be a flashback structure where the characters we met in the first three films are looking back on the events of The Hobbit, or new material that will create a bridge between the two stories.

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AMC Theaters have been doing a lot of promotional re-releases of films lately. They brought Back to the Future back to the theaters for its 25th anniversary, and then did the same for Top Gun a little bit later. They even screened 48-hour marathons of every Best Picture Nominee leading up to The Oscars. With all of the focus on huge blockbusters and opening weekend grosses that plagues the film industry these days, giving people the chance to see old favorites back up on the big screen is a pretty cool move from a corporation as huge as AMC. Their latest bit of promotion is for the Blu-Ray release of the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. On three subsequent Tuesdays leading up to the release of the discs, AMC will screen one of the films, in their full extended versions, at select theaters. The Fellowship of the Ring will play on June 14th, The Two Towers on June 21st, and Return of the King on June 28th.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. With cold and flu season coming up it seems vitally important to ask what movie you always watch whenever you get sick. What’s your “chicken soup movie”? – Denise S.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Surprise, surprise. It’s time for the return of that weekly column you didn’t realize was gone for several weeks. It’s also time for me to write my first article on this fair site since… August, I believe. It has been a long month of moving, shaking and bribing local officials, I have come back to life and returned to that which I am passionate about most: ripping the latest Blu-ray releases a new disc-hole with my not-so-eloquent prose. This Week in Blu-ray, we take a look at several classics, all from different eras, presented with great care and consideration by their respective studios, several new releases that don’t fail to attain mediocre status, and a big list of titles that I wasn’t able to review — perhaps because many home video publicists were under the impression that I had died recently. Damn that Cole Abaius, he’s always starting nasty rumors.

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Let’s face it. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland has us all frightened. If not because it’s intimidatingly hard to spell, then because it could have killed a bunch of people. Time to get prepared for next time with a little help from films.

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This Week in Blu-ray

After a week that was less than perfect for Blu-ray buyers last week, the world of high definition home entertainment is back with some style this week. We’ve got something for everyone. Battlestar Galactica: Season 2 hits for the sci-fi nerds, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans hits for those who enjoy movies that are off-the-charts good and The Lord of the Rings franchise comes to Blu-ray in the worst way possible.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also thinks the 80s are going to be the best decade ever in the world of film. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to rent more movies on VHS.

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decade_cinematicjourney

Paul Sileo reviews the decade in film in his own special way, by chronicling his own journey from wayward moviegoer to engaged movie blogger, one film at a time.

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briancox-header

It’s no secret around my neck of the woods that I’m a rabidly-obsessive Middle Earth fanatic. So what’s the newest casting rumor to hit the interwebz? It seems Brian Cox just may be joining Bilbo Baggins on the quest to evict Smaug from the Lonely Mountain.

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ViggoMortensen

The veteran actor is deciding to call it quits…for now. What does that mean for The Hobbit? Nobody knows, so there aren’t any answers inside or anything.

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hunt-for-gollum-1

SciFi Wire is reporting today that the Lord of the Rings fan-produced film The Hunt for Gollum, which premiered online Sunday night, broke up its server space with over 250,000 views in its first 24 hours.

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Movie Characters that Need to Smoke Weed

In honor of no special holiday in particular, we take a look at a few film characters that need to dance with Mary Jane. I change my name to Dr. Roberts for the day in order to diagnose a few crazed characters and prescribe something good for what ails them.

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iron-man-v-bruce-lee

I’ve always said that it would take a lot of effort, talent and creativity to properly combine to of my most iconic childhood heros. And luckily for all of us, French Canadian autodidact director Patrick Bolvin has just the right amount of all three.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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