The Lucky One

2012year_worst

Years from now, cinema fanatics will probably look back at 2012 fondly, remembering that this year brought us new films from Spielberg, Bigelow, Anderson (P.T.), Haneke, Affleck, Anderson (Wes), Van Sant, Arnold, Tarantino, Johnson, and many, many more. But amidst all the good stuff (and, rest assured, there was plenty of good stuff to go around), there were plenty of rotten, silly, messy, sloppy, boring, and insulting films to fill our theaters and empty our heads. The worst, if you will. Just the worst. Settle in, gird your loins, and prepare yourself for The 12 Worst Films of 2012, as determined by your faithful Rejects. Oh, 2012, you really packed some doozies.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Searching for Sonny Elliot reluctantly heads home for his ten-year high school reunion, but instead of the expected disappointments he discovers a missing friend, a murder and a mystery. Writer/director Andrew Disney’s feature debut is an indie rarity in that it’s as funny as any big screen comedy. The laughs come in part due to Disney’s sharp and witty script, but credit should also go to the main cast of Jason Dohring, Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney. The trio has a smooth and perfectly timed chemistry together, and they help make the film a joy to watch. The lovely Minka Kelly helps in that department as well. [Extras: Commentary, additional scenes, bloopers, featurettes] Also available on Blu-ray.

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The Reject Report - Large

No one was expecting this. The chances The Avengers had of breaking the opening weekend box office were slim. They were there, but few thought it was anywhere near reality. There’s a lot of egg on a lot of faces today. Not only did The Avengers beat Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s opening weekend take of $169.1m, it left every film that has ever been released in its dust. The first film to ever break $200m in its opening three days of US release – That’s to say nothing of the $441.5m it’s already made overseas – this is a milestone in Hollywood’s history that everyone thought would come one day. Not many thought it would happen in 2012.

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The Reject Report - Large

Cue the Don Henley, because the boys of Summer have arrived. The girls are here, too. We don’t want to sound like Moviefone over here. Boys, girls, aliens, piranha. They’re all being represented this Summer, and the first of many earth-shattering weekends is upon us. As with opening weekends of Summer’s past, the team over at Marvel have it all to themselves, this time with the culmination of years of tiring work. Will all the work be for naught? Hell naw. The Avengers is going to completely rule this weekend. The only question is what, if any, records will it be breaking. You take a look. We’re going back to Henley for the time being.

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Think Like a Man

Four new movies hit theaters this weekend, a few of them looking like valid candidates to take a strong win at the box office. However, it was a returning film, Think Like a Man, who stepped up, led the pack, and made every other film – including those newbies – look downright mediocre by comparison. Producer Will Packer, whose union with Screen Gems has created such timeless films as Obsessed and Takers, hasn’t had a film top the chart two weekend in a row since 2007 when Stomp the Yard came on strong. That film ended its run with $61.3m domestic and not much else overseas. Think Like a Man, with its current trajectory, is a lock to be Packer’s biggest movie for Screen Gems, as it’s nearing the $68.2m Obsessed pulled in during its release. Posters for Think Like a Man 2 have already been Photoshopped.

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The Reject Report - Large

Movie fans can feel it. The Summer movie season is in the air, and we’ll be analyzing what it’s opening attack has to offer. For now, though, we’ve got four new films squaring off to soak up as much pre-Summer sun as they can, some of them sure to be more successful at that than others. Here’s a hint: the movie set in foggy Baltimore in the 1800s won’t be getting much sun. Another action film for the adult crowd and an animated yarn have better chances, but it’ll end up being the romantic comedy hitting that top spot here just before we’re flooded with superhero blockbusters. It’s the final Reject Report before Summer hits, and the flood of new movies this weekend is just one more indication that the industry has no urge to slow down now.

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Think Like a Man

Okay, we won’t be starting off this week’s Reject Box Office Report by talking about The Hunger Games, but that will be the last time it appears in headlines. You know, until its inevitable 3D converted re-release. No, this week we’ll be talking about men. Zac Efron. A cute chimp in the wild making some nice, breezy cash for Disney. That’s a different topic for a different article. These men have swarmed and flanked around the battle-weary opponent, and they struck gold in the process. The head of this charge was Think Like a Man, the reason Screen Gems and producer Will Packer have such a stronger bond as of today. It’s Packer’s biggest debut for the studio, taking over the $28.6m showing for Obsessed in 2009.  Add to that the film has an extra weekend coming up where it can coast a bit before getting blasted by The Avengers, and this movie with its $12m budget is going to have some pretty damn good strength. Add to that the home entertainment sales. The party at Screen Gems last night was heard in Vegas.

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The Reject Report - Large

A chimpanzee, Zac Efron, Steve Harvey, and Katniss – Not Jennifer Lawrence – all have their palms on a brand new Dodge Challenger. Hemi. The last person with their hand on the car wins it, and, unfortunately for Katniss – Still not Jennifer Lawrence – who could afford 10 Dodge Challengers right now – the game’s been going for four days straight. She’s exhausted. The other players are all fresh, and a few of them have heavy fan support. Who will walk away with this magnificent car or the claim of #1 at the box office if you’re into the whole analogy thing? One things for certain. The chimpanzee was already distracted by a low-hanging branch. Let the contest begin.

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The latest cinematic adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel, The Lucky One is a messy, tone-deaf, and laughable movie outing, an embarrassment to director Scott Hicks (Shine, The Boys Are Back), a black mark against Zac Efron‘s attempts at becoming a romantic lead, and an unsurprising continuation of Sparks’s ceaseless attack on what passes for a love story these days. Let’s put it this way – The Lucky One is so dismal, so off-kilter, so nonsensical that even the ever-ready charms of Zac Efron cannot redeem it in the slightest. At its heart, the film hinges on one of Sparks’s most ludicrous conceits yet – Marine Logan Thibault (Efron, more bulked up than ever, yet still unable to even resemble a professional solider)  is “rescued” by a picture of an unknown woman during his third tour of Iraq, a laminated picture of a pretty girl that catches his eye and pulls him away from a structure that blows up right behind him. If he hadn’t gone for the picture, he would be dead – the girl in the photograph saved him. At least, that’s what Logan thinks and what The Lucky One rests on. Convinced he owes some debt to the girl in the picture, Logan embarks on a quest to find her once he returns to the States.

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Reel Sex

One of my greatest loves, besides full-frontal male nudity in films, is a beard. Normally I would get up on my soap box and spout out tributes to the greatness of male facial hair, how it can instantly make a baby-faced boy look tough and intimidating. Or take a scrappy young man and make him appear soulful or whimsical. Facial hair can even play as much importance in telling the difference between a hipster or a homeless person (a game that is one of my favorite past times). And while I like to think more people share my love of male facial muffs, I’ve come to realize many audiences see facial hair as a costume or accessory meant to show a level of untrustworthy or roguish manliness that a clean-shaven character lacks. This is unfortunate as any level of facial hair can really mean more than just good versus evil on screen. I have spent many years disappointing my parents with my choice in men and their accompanying facial hair, starting from the celebrities I chose to crush on (90s teen boy bands aside) to the men I brought home for Sunday night dinners. I have long been cursed with a love of beards I cannot deny myself. And as I have spent years writing about and stroking them (research!) it is about time Hollywood takes note of the diversity in beards and how they aren’t just for the bad guys anymore.

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The Best Movie Trailers of 2011

They say it’s hard to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to world of cinema and movie marketing (and the plethora of films that hit theaters each weekend), it’s hard not to use a film’s three-minute long trailer to judge whether or not it will be something you’ll be interested in seeing (and with movie prices on the up and up, it’s hard to go in blind these days). The illustrious Jack Giroux and Allison Loring rounded up the top 11 trailers released over the past year. They’re both for films that came out in 2011 and either lived up to or fell short of their promise and for films due to be released next year that have begun teasing us early. Plus a few honorable mentions because Jack and I aren’t super great at math (we’re writers, and I’m pretty sure you can only be good at one or the other). From horror to action to comedy (and much discussion about the merits of underwear – you’ll see), our picks spanned the genres proving that it does not matter what type of film you are promoting, just whether or not you are able to grab people’s attention. Listed in no particular order, let us know in the comments if you agree, disagree or if there was a trailer you loved that we missed on our list.

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It was inevitable that Zac Efron would eventually be sucked into the sappy world of the writer that continues to churn out schmaltzy crap while believing he’s the next great writer of Greek Tragedies. If there’s another actor out there better suited for the next Nicolas Sparks movie, I don’t know him. Which is probably a reason he should fire his publicist. Efron has signed on for The Lucky One where he’ll play – wait for it – a Marine who has been deployed thrice to Iraq and has lived through every tour, he believes, because of the good luck brought to him by a photograph of a woman he doesn’t know. Because it’s sweet, and not creepy, he tracks the woman down when he gets home.

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