The Skin I Live In

This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! A wide range of movies are hitting shelves today, but the two best releases happen to be television series including HBO’s Game of Thrones and my pick of the week below. On the movie front we have the fantastic racer doc Senna, the surprisingly funny indie comedy High Road, Pedro Almodovar’s twisted thriller The Skin I Live In, Adam Sandler’s latest abortion Jack and Jill, and more! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Adventure Time: It Came from the Nightosphere A boy and his dog spend their days playing in the world of their imagination, and the result is some gloriously effed up adventures. I make no apology for loving this show. It’s like swallowing a sugar-filled grenade that explodes in your head over and over again throughout each episode’s eleven-minute run-time. Everything about the show is free-flowing and utterly weird, from the animation style to the humor to the stories themselves. This DVD features sixteen episodes including the Emmy-nominated “Nightosphere.”

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The Best Movie Posters of 2011

Movie posters can rise to level of works of art, can be tame or daring. They are of course advertising. A good poster makes you want to know more about the movie and the more you want to know the more you’ll want to spend your money to see the film. With that in mind, we’ve assembled our favorites of 2011, broken down into fancy categories for your reading and viewing pleasure.

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The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to the last DVD column of 2011! There’s been quite a bit of chatter about how dismal of a year it was for film, but while there’s no doubt the box office haul is lower than the year before the same can’t be said for film quality. This week’s releases include the dirty fun of A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, the cool deaths (but little else) of Final Destination 5, two found footage films of varying quality (The Tunnel, Apollo 18) and two future cult classics (Kill List, The Skin I Live In) possibly worth an import for folks who don’t want to wait several more months for US releases. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Fish Story A comet heads toward Earth, but as the planet awaits destruction a few strangers sit in a record shop discussing how a mysterious song from decades ago just might save the world. From that starting point the film moves across space and time to tell a story about friendship, heroism, fate and more. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura (Golden Slumber, A Boy and His Samurai) has a true talent for tying multiple threads  up with real heart and character. The movie is actually a few years old, but it’s also the reason the term ‘blind buy’ was invented. Seriously. This is near perfect mix of whimsy, action, suspense and heart, and deserves to be seen by everyone. Check out Cole Abaius’ full review.

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The Holiday Gift Guide: DVD and Blu-ray

Merry Christmas movie/TV/goat-cheese lovers! As part of our week-long gift guide extravaganza thingamajig we’ve put together a list of Blu-rays, DVD and a few other ideas for you to use when shopping for others or for putting on your own Christmas list. Or both. Some of the films below are from years past, but they all hit Blu-ray and/or DVD this year so they totally count for this gift guide. Click on the links to be magically transported to Amazon, AmazonUK and other places where lovely things can be found.

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For what’s looking to be the last official programming announcement from this year’s AFI FEST presented by Audi, the fest has revealed their special film retrospective as curated by Guest Artistic Director Pedro Almodóvar. The filmmaker has put together a program of five films (including one of his own) to form an essential cross-section of horror films and thrillers. Almodóvar’s picks include his own Law of Desire, saying that the film is “a fundamental title in my career…I don’t think I’d change a single shot, and not because it’s perfect but because I recognize myself in all of them…It’s true that my palette has darkened and, in the case of the latest film, the humor has almost disappeared. Fortunately I’ve changed sufficiently so that no one can accuse me of repeating myself, but I’m still the same.” The film’s screening will take place on Monday, November 7, and Almodóvar and star Antonio Banderas (also the star of that “latest film” Almodóvar mentions, the magnetic The Skin I Live In) will introduce the film, and it will be followed by a “conversation” about the auteur’s career. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting this Thursday, October 27). Even with parking fees in Hollywood, that’s still cheaper than a movie ticket. The complete schedule grid is now online for […]

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Creating the world of a disturbed, yet brilliant, plastic surgeon harboring more than one secret is no easy task, but director Pedro Almodóvar rises to the challenge with his beautiful and haunting film, The Skin I Live In. An equal challenge was that of creating the music for this world to keep up with the story’s various twists and turns. From the frenetic strings that draw us in at the beginning of the film to the final piano refrain, composer Alberto Iglesias’s score helps create a world that refuses to let you, much like the mysterious woman trapped in the doctor’s home, out until the film’s very last frame. I spoke with Iglesias about the process of working with Almodóvar on this film, the challenges of expressing the emotion in scenes with little to no dialogue and how sometimes, an ax is an equally important part of the composing process as any instrument. (English is not Iglesias’s first language so please keep that in mind as you read his responses.)

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Great personal tragedies have the uncanny ability to leave a mark on those they touch – but Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In takes that concept to frightening new levels, mixing in healing with horror, pleasure with pain, and medical advancements with mental illness. The film centers on Antonio Banderas as gifted doctor Robert Ledgard, a reclusive type who does something out of his in-home clinic in a secluded section of Spain. Whatever type of medicine Robert publicly practices, we are not privy to it for some time (a reveal that proves key later in the story), but we are let in on his secrets almost immediately. Ruined by the tragic demises of both his wife and daughter, Robert has withdrawn into a different field of work – crafting a new type of human skin that is, in a sense, unbreakable. The skin is spliced from human skin and pig skin, meant to withstand heat and cold, to heal quickly, to show no signs of violence no matter what is inflicted on it. And while this is a noble (and understandable, given his past losses) pursuit, there’s one small piece of Robert’s plan that sets it apart – he’s lying when he tells the medical community that he needs to test it on human subjects. Because he already has. And she’s locked up in his home.

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It’s Unofficial Pedro Almodóvar Day here at FSR! Everyone, join me as I celebrate in the traditional way – by throwing teeny, tiny bits of Penelope Cruz-shaped confetti in the air and watching Antonio Banderas manufacture fake skin. Wait, is that not how you celebrate your Unofficial Pedro Almodóvar Days? That’s about to change. On the heels of AFI FEST announcing Almodóvar as their Guest Artistic Director for this year’s festival, the trailer for the filmmaker’s next film, The Skin I Live In, has debuted online. The film bowed at Cannes to some mixed reactions, though our own Simon saw the film at the fest and bestowed on it an “A” review, noting that the work mixes some classic Almodóvar hallmarks into a film that, at first glance, just plain doesn’t sound like a typical Almodóvar film. But The Skin I Live In sure does sound like an out-of-the-box choice for the auteur, starring Banderas as a doctor who may be tortured on the inside, but who is on the verge of a medical breakthrough, creating a superskin that can be transplanted on to damaged skin. And maybe more…? The film’s trailer is a touch tedious, broken up with title cards that hint at some of the different types of people who inhabit the world (or, as it were, the film’s world), followed by glimpses at some of those supposed types of people. But some of those people seem to cross over various types, and that’s part of the intrigue of […]

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Yet again I find myself sitting in the dark waiting for one of my most anticipated films of this year’s Cannes film festival, and am met with a chorus of coughs ringing around the screen. Here’s a thought – if you are allergic to either a) the dark or b) the cinema, maybes it’s time you stopped going. It sounds like a bloody Victorian bronchitis convention every time the lights go down… Anyway, The Skin I Live In (also known as The Skin That I Inhabit, depending on how you translate the original Spanish title), is the latest in this year’s auteur-focused Competition line-up, and thanks to both director Pedro Almodovar‘s assertions that he set out to make a horror “without screams or frights” and his reunion with sometime muse Antonio Banderas, this one sat at the top table in terms of anticipation. Warning, there be a few spoilers below, though I have tried to avoid as many as possible. But like Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, such is the nature of the film that some hints are a necessity.

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With a little less than a week to go until I land at Nice Airport and get the hugely unglamorous Hack Bus into Cannes along with my boys from ObsessedWithFilm.com to begin FSR’s official Cannes film festival 2011 coverage, now is surely a prudent time to offer my thoughts on the biggest and brightest films showing on the Croisette this year. You already know what films are showing, so I won’t exhaustively trawl back through the list, but I wanted to take the opportunity to announce what I am particularly excited about. This also gives me the opportunity post-festival to look back at happier, simpler times when my optimism at seeing four films a day wasn’t yet destroyed by watching three incredibly boring flicks in a row, followed by a blockbuster during which I fell asleep (as happened in 2009). Anyway, lesson learned, and this year I’ll be packing as many natural amphetamines as possible. If you’re heading out there look for me, I’ll be the guy with the grinding jaw, the sallow eyes and the notepad full of doodles/plans to change the future of cinema. So anyway, here’s what I’m looking forward to most.

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So, we now know most of which films will screen in the two major competitions at Cannes this year, and a few out of competition titles as well (including one huge shock for me). Here’s the list in full — great to see The Beaver, and a host of huge-name directors in competition like Von Trier, Almodovar and Miike — and you can expect my commentary to follow soon. Opening Film Midnight In Paris (dir. Woody Allen) Out of Competition The Beaver (dir. Foster) La Conquete (dir. Xavier Durringer) The Artist (dir. Hazanavicius) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (dir. Rob Marshall)

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