The Muppets

Muppets Most Wanted

One problem facing Muppets Most Wanted is that it follows up 2011′s The Muppets, which saw everyone’s favorite gaggle of vaudevillian weirdos taking part in a giant reunion in order to save both their theater and the rights to their name. The Great Muppet Caper (which this film cribs more than a little from) was content to put the Muppets in a genre plot rather than try to top the origin story of The Muppet Movie. Most Wanted again tries to pluck the heartstrings, separating Kermit from the rest of the Muppets and putting him in a crisis as he thinks his family has abandoned him (when really they’ve only failed to notice that he’s been replaced by a doppelgänger… which isn’t much better). But it can’t match the emotional tug of seeing the Muppets getting back together. Escalating the stakes with each new sequel doesn’t really work for this franchise. At this rate, the next Muppet film might actually kill someone off (psst, if that does happen, please get rid of Walter).

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the muppets movie

On Friday, we’ll get our second Muppet caper in three years courtesy of Muppets Most Wanted, the latest offering from writer-director James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. The time since 2011’s The Muppets, also written by Jason Segel (the project’s poster boy, star and arguably biggest, giddiest fan) has seen a mini resurgence in Muppets mania, at least in some facets of the media. We’ve had Lady Gaga host a Muppets Spectacular full of singing and dancing and Jimmy Fallon invite the whole gang on his last episode of Late Night to perform “The Weight,” and we’ve seen Kermit and friends infiltrate everything from the Thanksgiving Day Parade to Lipton Tea commercials to brief moments of psychosis on 30 Rock. Whether or not Muppets Most Wanted is a success, it’s the gateway in a long list of examples that prove one important fact: it’s time for the return of The Muppet Show.

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The Muppets Christmas Carol

Another wonderful moment from the archive to help you celebrate Christmas… Christmas is just around the corner, and you’re probably catching up on some old and new favorite films about the holidays. Among your viewings of A Christmas Story, Die Hard, and Gremlins, maybe you picked up a copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol, which has recently had a 20th anniversary Blu-ray release. This repackaging of the 1992 holiday classic includes a commentary track by Brian Henson as well as a new commentary by the Muppet characters themselves. One is more technical, and the other is more silly, but together they give a nice look at the making of one of the more faithful-yet-original adaptations of the Charles Dickens book. And on to the commentary…

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Muppets_Kermit_BMcKenzie

James Bobin and Bret McKenzie first worked together when Bobin was a director on Flight of the Conchords, the HBO series that chronicled McKenzie and Jemaine Clement’s travels as “New Zealand’s 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.” Probably their best-known collaboration to date came when McKenzie worked as a songwriter on the Bobin-directed 2011 reboot of the Muppets franchise though, as not only was that film successful enough to breathe new life into Jim Henson’s classic felt creations and spawn a sequel, but it also earned McKenzie a Best Original Song Oscar for his heartfelt, existential tune ‘Man or Muppet.’ As one would expect, Bobin has once again brought McKenzie on board to write more songs for that upcoming Muppets sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, but in a recent interview with Collider, McKenzie revealed that there’s also another intriguing project they’re in the early stages of working together on, and it’s one that seems to be influenced by every awesome movie that children of the 80s grew up wearing out VHS tapes of.

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diddy muppets most wanted

If you’ve ever wanted to see a Muppet sing “Moves Like Jagger,” here’s your chance. The teaser trailer for the sequel to The Muppets has arrived, and Muppets Most Wanted has some familiar faces and some very famous faces partying down while also entangled in an international crime spree. The world’s most conniving criminal is apparently Kermit’s doppelganger, who takes his sidekick (Ricky Gervais) around the world causing mayhem as they get chased down by the rest of the Muppets crew, along with an intrepid Interpol agent played by a mustachioed Ty Burell. Tina Fey also pops up as a no-nonsense Russian prison guard with a penchant for fantastic fur hats. Not much of the plot is revealed in the teaser, but it does show the broader aspects of what the movie will be about: big, flashy musical numbers, corny jokes and the triumph of the good guys over the bad guys. It’s a Muppet movie – it wouldn’t be complete without any of those things. I find it interesting, though, that Disney is marketing this as a sequel to The Muppets. Shouldn’t it be more of a standalone film, when there have already been so many Muppet ventures?

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Muppets...Again!

Kermit the Frog on the story behind Muppets…Again!, the sequel to The Muppets: “The idea of this film is that our gang is on this global tour, and we’re selling out these grand theaters all over Europe—in Berlin, Madrid, London—but we sort of get into a little bit of trouble when we run across my doppleganger. He’s the world’s number one criminal, Constantine, and he happens to look an awful lot like me. I won’t tell you any more than that, but let’s just say mayhem ensues.”

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Ricky Gervais Muppets

We’re lucky to live in a time where pop culture is happily blended millions of times a day. G.I. Joe plays with My Little Pony. An IKEA monkey becomes Bane. Everything gets mixed with Inception. These are the new rules of the internet, and we’re probably better for it. Probably. But there’s something special when it happens at the highest professional level. When a movie studio decides it’s totally a good idea to push two not-completely-compatible icons together. Like Michael Scott and Miss Piggy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ricky Gervais (the man who so offended the Golden Globes audience that they brought him back to host two more times) is in talks to star in The Muppets sequel that sees the crew headed Great Caper-style to Europe. His potential role isn’t known, but it would be similar in scope to Jason Segel’s — a human sidekick to the Jim Henson creations.  Also, there’s no word yet on whether he’d sing or not, but his signing a contract cannot happen soon enough. Please, please Disney, make this happen. Give him whatever he wants.

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Drinking Games

Now that Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s time to start getting into the Christmas cheer. You might think it’s a little too early for this, but Wal-Mart has had its Christmas decorations up for a month now, and movie studios are following suit. As they do every year, studios are dropping their Christmas films this week to get a jump on the holiday spending spree. Here at Film School Rejects, we have a special place in our hearts for the Muppets, and there’s also quite a bit of love for the 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol, which is getting a Blu-ray release for the first time this week. So forget the fact that Thanksgiving is more than two weeks away. Check out this holiday favorite early and avoid the Christmas rush.

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Bret McKenzie and Kermit

James Bobin’s relaunch of Jim Henson’s fuzzy felt creations, The Muppets, was one of the big success stories of 2011. It proved that The Muppets could still be box office draws, it won over fans who had loved The Muppets for years and were initially skeptical of whether it could be good, and it made a whole new crop of Muppets fans out of kids meeting the characters for the first time. A big reason for the film’s success was that it featured great songs like “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man Or Muppet,” which were not only good enough to be put up in the pantheon of best Muppets songs ever written, but were also good enough to win their composer, Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, an Oscar for Best Original Song (and they were also catchy enough that you’ll probably be humming them for the rest of the day now that you’ve been reminded of them).

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Compared to Nicholas Stoller‘s two previous films, The Five-Year Engagement has a lot going on. While his prior efforts only covered a few days, Engagement‘s timeline, if you couldn’t guess, goes well over… five years. Fitting all that time in one movie mustn’t be easy, as well as all the drama and comedy that takes place in that same period. As Stoller described the long writing process, it wasn’t easy, but life saves such as When Harry Met Sally helped him get through it, along with the help of co-writer Jason Segel.  With their dramatic comedy, the frequent collaborators took on an idea not discussed enough in love stories: that no one is ever going to be 100% perfect for you. As you’d expect from Stoller and Segel, said idea is milked for every comedic turn possible. Here’s what co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller had to say about the long writing process, why he never screams, and how the world almost got the Eminem animated show it deserved:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s something that happens nightly, provides you with good feelings, is easy to clean up and doesn’t require anyone else to be in the room. What else in your life is like that? We begin tonight with a completely badass image from Brave in which Princess Merida jumps from the clutches of what seems to be an evil bear into the grasp of a nice bear. The difference is in the claws. Also, The Art of Brave book is available for pre-order. Get it.

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Dynamic duo Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel continue their tangled professional careers together in The Five-Year Engagement, unlike the last film in which the pair split writing, with Stoller directing and Segel starring, Get Him to the Greek, their new film tackles some tough stuff in name of the comedy – marriage. The film centers on Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt‘s Violet and their stumble to the altar. From the film’s first scenes, it’s obvious that Tom and Violet are very much in love, but a series of big life events that have nothing to do with their nuptials steadily pile up until it looks as if their five-year engagement will be just that, an engagement, with no wedding at the end. In the style of Stoller and Segel’s previous works, the film is both funny and true, and the addition of Judd Apatow as producer and a cast that includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Mindy Kaling, Rhys Ifans, Kevin Hart, Chris Parnell, and Brian Posehn only pumps up the film’s improv-influenced laughs. The press junket for The Five-Year Engagement was a laidback affair, and one that drove home the point that the film was a collaborative effort between people who actually like each other. Comprised of four roundtables of paired talent, your faithful Reject and a group of other online journalist spent time talking to Segel and Blunt, Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow, Brie and Kaling, and Parnell and Posehn. Revelations from the junket were not just confined to […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the sun, the moon and the stars. Wait, I thought there’d be stars… We begin this evening with a blurry, somewhat comprehensible image of Spock (Zachary Quinto) falling in front of a green screen on the set of Star Trek 2. According to Screen Rant’s theory — and a spy report — this could very well be Spock falling into a Volcano on a “jungle planet” as part of a big CGI set piece. I’m for it.

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This Week in DVD

Hey kids, it’s This Week In DVD time again! There’s a whopping six releases worth buying this week, and four of them are foreign language flicks. Make of that what you will. Look below for my recommendations on Gainsbourg, The Sitter, Hop, The Muppets, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and… Clown Hunt? As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Battle Royale It’s the near future, and Japan has grown so tired of their violently out of control youth that they’ve organized an annual event featuring a randomly chosen class forced to fight to the death on a distant island. This release has been a long time coming. The movie is over ten years old, but while it’s utterly fantastic this is the first US release for reasons of misguided political correctness. It’s wonderfully violent and bloody film that also happens to have some interesting things to say about society and the cycle of violence… but you can ignore all that if you choose and just focus on the stylishly violent encounters between kids, cliques and even friends. Anchor Bay has released the film in two versions. The single disc only includes the director’s cut, which adds some interesting character bits but is slightly inferior to the theatrical. The one listed to the right though is their beautiful four-disc set that includes the theatrical and director’s cuts plus the mediocre sequel plus multiple extras.

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Kermit the Frog

Unless you’re a person without a heart — and if so, we’re sorry to hear that — there’s not even the slightest chance that The Muppets didn’t make you smile. What is that you say? You haven’t yet seen last year’s most enjoyable movie featuring little felt characters from our collective childhood? We’ve got to fix that, don’t we? So in celebration of the Blu-ray and DVD release of The Muppets on March 20th, we are going to be giving you, our dear readers, a chance to win yourself a copy and have yourself a smile. Or 30. Two (2) lucky winners will receive the Wocka Wocka Value Pack, which includes the movie on Blu-ray high-definition, DVD and Digital Copy (3 discs) plus a download card for the film’s soundtrack from Walt Disney Records. All you have to do is jump down into the comments section and answer the following question: Who is your favorite Muppet and why? More details after the jump.

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The Sound of The Muppets

There’s some good news and some bad news for fans of last year’s return of the Muppets to the big screen. Much of the thematic heft of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s The Muppets script came from the question of whether or not the Muppets were still a viable entertainment entity in today’s cynical world, whether anybody remembered them, and if they could still be stars. The answer to that question now seems to be a definitive yes, because The Muppets did so well that Disney is starting work on a sequel.

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. It’s finally here! The time of year where I can write a paragraph that no one will read because they’ve already scrolled down to see who’s won. But even though this won’t be seen by humans, here’s a personal reminder that this night may be about politics and back-slapping, but it’s also about the splendor of cinema. It’s about the magic of movies. The genius of thousands of images all strung together with blood, sweat and tears to create characters and a journey through the heart of a story. There are some great stories on display tonight. That’s what matters second most. What matters most, of course, is crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentation of their women. Let’s get to the winning, right? And the Oscar goes to…

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Song

While my feelings on the Best Original Song nominees (and my disappointment in the lack of songs nominated) are pretty clear, the two songs that have been nominated do tap into those universal feelings of figuring out who you truly are and where you truly belong. And come Sunday, February 26th, one of these songs will be an Academy Award winner. As we get closer to the big day, we here at FSR wanted to take a moment to give the nominees a final look and make our predictions on what should happen along with what we think will happen. Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has basically made it their business to look like a bunch of boring old fuddy-duddies. Not only did their nominations this year fail to recognize some of the year’s best and most progressive examples of filmmaking, like Drive, Take Shelter, and Shame, but they’ve also seemed to do everything in their power to make sure that nothing fun or new happens at the ceremony itself. The members of the Academy have gotten a lot of criticism lately for being made up mostly of out of touch, old white men, and with every decision that they make those claims appear to be more and more valid. It’s to the point where it seems like old white people aren’t just the only ones allowed to join their club, but they’re also the only ones they want watching their telecast. Already this year they made the Internet mad by refusing to hear their pleas to let the Muppets host instead of going with their safe, usual choice of Billy Crystal. And most recently they’ve raised everyone’s Muppet ires once again by announcing that—despite the fact they were nominated for the original song “Man or Muppet” - nobody would actually be performing the nominated songs during this year’s ceremony, so a Muppet performance was out of the question. I mean, come on, who could be so cold-hearted that they refuse the Muppets twice? The latest victim of their old man grumbling is apparently Sacha Baron Cohen. There […]

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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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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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