The Perks of Being a Wallflower

magicmike02

I don’t know the last time I watched the MTV Movie Awards. I think Howard Stern was there promoting his never-made Fartman movie. No, that was the 1992 MTV Music Awards. What about when the kids from Rushmore reenacted scenes from Armageddon, Out of Sight and The Truman Show? Actually, I might have only seen the parodies and not the actual show. Whenever it was, it’s been a long time. Because what self-respecting film lover watches such self-important, self-promoting, ratings-grabbing b.s.? Wait, that doesn’t sound all that different than the Oscars, and we pay lots of attention to those. The only difference is that the MTV Movie Awards don’t have a history or consistency or the sort of class that we like to think the Academy Awards do. They’re an easy punching bag because they seem to pander by catering to more mainstream, high-grossing, youth-driven entertainment. Also, they’re on MTV, which we always love to shoot down (can’t we just give up and acknowledge how ahead of their time they were by ceasing to be “music” television and having an acronym-based brand that no longer stands for anything… like every single channel now?). But I decided to glance at the nominees for tonight’s awards and I realized something: the MTV Movie Awards celebrate movies far better than the Oscars do.

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discs kid with bike

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Kid With a Bike (Criterion) Cyril (Thomas Doret) is a young boy in flux. His mother is long gone, and his father has dropped him at an orphanage ostensibly for a few days while he gets his job and house in order. That lie hides an unforgivable truth that Cyril simply can’t accept, but through his efforts to reunite with his dad he comes under the care of a single hairdresser (Cecile de France) with struggles of her own. This French film is a deceptively simple tale of a lost boy at risk, but it becomes one of the year’s most suspenseful experiences thanks in large part to Doret’s incredible performance. His fragile emotional state teases as much danger as local teen thugs and Cyril’s constant bike-riding do leaving viewers nervously awaiting a seemingly inevitable and terrible turn of events. But even as we worry we can’t help but fall in love with the boy and the woman, their challenging and sweet interactions, and the film’s effortless display of affection and humanity. I rarely buy Criterion titles at retail (because they’re freaking expensive!), but like Broadcast News and The Game I’ll be making an exception here. [Extras: Interviews, featurette, booklet, trailer]

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commentary-wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a teenager struggling to fit in with those around him (including Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) while also dealing with traumatic memories from his past. It’s a rare film in that it manages to be very personal even as it speaks to so many people. The disc contains two commentaries, one with writer/director Stephen Chbosky and another with six cast members plus Chbosky. I watched the film twice, back to back, with each of the commentaries, and the combination of experiencing it (mostly) free of dialogue, where actors’ expressions and the film’s editing tells the story while the creative team explores what the film meant to them has altered the movie for me in a profound way. I liked but didn’t love it upon first viewing, but as someone who watches way too many movies I know that sometimes a re-watch under different circumstances or in a different frame of mind can have a dramatic effect on how you receive a film. The fact that it happened to me while watching with the commentary track on is a definite first for me though. Keep reading to see what I heard with this week’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower Commentary Commentary…

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2012-overlookedmovies

The movies listed here aren’t necessarily the year’s best, but they’re still great movies that never found an audience during their theatrical run for one reason or another. At least one of those reasons is you, but instead of berating you for failing to support the films while they were in theaters and needed your help, we’re hoping to point you in their direction now. (Which reminds me… go see Jack Reacher!) But first, a few qualifications. I’ve excluded movies that played in fewer than 100 theaters since that’s the distributor’s fault. I’m not featuring films that made over $30m, and I’m not including subtitled foreign releases which the masses avoid by default. These are only films that had a real chance of making a lot more money, so while I wish more people saw the LCD Soundsystem concert doc Shut Up and Play the Hits, I’m not surprised that it only made $510k. So here are 12 great movies that failed at the box office but deserved much better (and should be sought out immediately on Blu-ray/DVD, streaming, whatever)… and 6 terrible flicks that you were right to avoid.

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Author Stephen Chbosky made an ambitious choice as his first feature film: his own acclaimed novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. From the pressure of living up to the reputation of your previous work to appeasing fans, that’s a daunting task. Considering the film’s critical acclaim and the successful opening, that publicity challenge Chbosky faced has been conquered. As for the actual “making-of” challenges, the book presents many narrative difficulties: the book’s told in an episodic structure; stuffed full of flashbacks and subplots; and the book has a twist which we don’t see too often in High School dramedies. Speaking with Chbosky, those are factors he was well-aware of, all of which he approached with delicacy. That delicacy has made for, as he told us after our interview, a film “he wouldn’t change a frame of.” Here’s what Chbosky had to say about adapting his own work, setting his actors free, and the power of David Bowie’s music:

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

In attempting to write a review for Stephen Chbosky‘s cinematic adaptation of his own novel of the same name, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I ran into a problem (a problem big enough that I’d feel the need to use frequent “I” statements in said review, a big no-no in my book). It’s impossible for me to write a review of Perks that would, in any way, be able to masquerade as an objective take on the material (and, of course, no review is ever wholly objective, and you’d do well to remember that straight away), because Chbosky’s book made an indelible mark on me as a teenager, one that I’ve never been quite able to shake. Chbosky’s book was published on February 1, 1999. I got a copy of the book as a gift from my first boyfriend about two weeks later. For those of you not keeping track on my personal biography, I was fifteen in the winter of 1999, a sophomore in high school who, though lucky enough to have a ton of friends and great parents and good grades, still felt a bit awkward (being a bookworm and a movie buff and a modern art freak didn’t help — these weren’t cool things to be, yet). I’ll stop you there — yes, everyone felt awkward in high school, but the experience of being a teenager is a profoundly insular one, so most of us don’t know (often for quite some time) that everyone else felt […]

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Welcome back to everyone’s favorite Friday afternoon mini-feature: Movies Getting Released on Days. Just kidding! It’s the Release Date Round-Up! Yee haw! This time around, we check out the latest dates for Summit Entertainment’s feature adaptation of a beloved YA novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which has been shoved safely away from either Liberal Arts or The Master (your call), along with three very special (read: very different) Universal films, all getting the boot around the release date schedule. Break out your day planners, and read on for new release dates for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Oblivion, Mama, and Rush.

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After his break-out performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, it looked as if Ezra Miller would be permanently doomed to creeper status, haunting the edges of our collective cinematic nightmares forever, so I was predictably cagey about his casting as Patrick in Stephen Chbosky‘s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Author Chbosky has adapted his own (beloved) novel for the film (which he also directs), and while so much of the film’s other casting – namely Logan Lerman as protagonist Charlie – seemed spot-on, Miller bothered. Patrick is one of the first people who makes Charlie feel accepted in high school – a profound feat once you’re aware of how much young Charlie has already endured and how much Patrick himself is going through – and Miller hasn’t previously seemed to be the type of actor who could pull off such a kind-hearted character. Wrong. In the first trailer for Perks, Miller steals the show as Patrick – he’s hilarious, zingy, vibrant, and about as far removed from his We Need to Talk About Kevin character as humanly possible. Everyone else looks totally radical, too (after all, the book is set in the ’90s), but Miller is the main attraction here. Check out the first trailer for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower after the break!

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Young Ezra Miller terrified audiences last year with work in Lynne Ramsay’s nightmare factory of a film, We Need to Talk About Kevin, but the rising star doesn’t appear interested in getting stuck in similar (horrifying, revolting, and very difficult) roles. Variety reports that the actor has signed on for a role in Sophie Barthes‘s Madame Bovary, already set to star Jane Eyre‘s Mia Wasikowska in the title role and Paul Giamatti as Monsieur Homais. The outlet does not specifically name his role, just that he will be a “love interest” for Wasikowska, but Cinema Blend points out that Miller is better suited for Leon Dupuis, one of the first men who tempts Emma, but not the man she eventually engages in a passionate and destructive affair (that would be Rodolphe Boulanger). Written by Rose Barrenche from Gustave Flaubert‘s novel, Barthes plans to start filming this fall. While I’m not particularly sold on yet another take on Bovary, Barthes is lining up an impressive and varied cast, which could recommend this new version of the classic story.

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Percy Jackson and 3:10 to Yuma actor Logan Lerman is attached to a new indie film whose title takes inspiration from a Simon and Garfunkel tune. The young actor is ready to start production this fall on The Only Living Boy in New York, a sort of coming of age, romantic triangle, boy coming to grips with the imperfection of his parents movie that is set to be directed by Seth Gordon, the man who made the universally beloved documentary The King of Kong, and who has recently been busying himself directing episodes of great TV comedies like Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, and Community. The reason the new film won’t likely start until fall is that Lerman is starting to become something of a hot ticket item over there in the Hollywood. Not only does he have a round of publicity coming up for his big summer blockbuster version of Three Musketeers, but he’s also about to start production on an adaptation of the ridiculously successful Stephen Chbosky teen angst novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It looks like Lerman is subscribing fully to the Give Them an Action Movie/Give Them an Indie Drama model of career building. He may be one to keep an eye on. Source: Deadline State College

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According to Variety, Emma Watson is currently in talks to co-star in the teen drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on Stephen Chbosky’s popular and undeservedly controversial 1999 novel. Also in talks for the adaptation is Percy Jackson star Logan Lerman.

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