The Smurfs

Danny Trejo Sherrybaby

Our official review of Machete Kills is pretty negative. Rightfully so, it’s a major disappointment following the purposefully cheesy yet still politically relevant first film. This time it’s all just silly, kind of like an Austin Powers movie for the Latino audience instead of 13-year-old boys — though the 13-year-old boys may still be the best audience for this. I want to recommend it solely for Demian Bichir, though, because he is a pleasure to watch every second he’s on screen. Maybe it’s just how great he is relative to the rest of the cast and movie, but I’d give him another Oscar nomination for this. If you think that’s ridiculous, you haven’t seen the movie (because that is ridiculous). If you don’t see Machete Kills, no big deal, even if you won’t know what’s going on when Machete Kills Again… In Space arrives. This week’s gateway recommendations have nothing related to any spoilers in the movie. Most are just better films starring parts of the sequel’s ensemble. I also almost thought about including Star Wars, not because I think any of you haven’t seen it but because I think you’d want to clean yourself in the form of a re-watch after seeing all the bad references here. Seriously, even if we’d never had 35 years of parodies, copycats, fan films and other works derived from and informed by Star Wars, the allusions here would still feel stale. The following ten selections are worth checking out whether you bother with Machete […]

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Manimal

Let’s see a show of hands…how many of you remember the NBC series Manimal? Yeah, not too many. And with good reason. Manimal was a ridiculous show about a college professor who had the ability to turn himself into animals. What would you imagine a stuffy, academic type would do once he gained such phenomenal abilities? Why, he fights crime alongside a sexy police lady and one of his old ‘Nam buddies, of course. Manimal debuted in 1983 to abysmal ratings and even worse reviews, and only aired 8 episodes before the plug was pulled. It being something from the ’80s that someone somewhere might remember, however, still makes it a prime candidate to get a big screen adaptation, so THR is reporting that Sony Pictures Animation has won what was most likely an intense bidding war to acquire the rights to the property.

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Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have just announced that production has kicked off on their inevitable “live-action/computer animated hybrid 3Dfamily comedy” sequel to last year’s smash hit, The Smurfs. The Smurfs 2 brings back all of the cast from the first film, including Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow, Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow, Sofia Vergara as Odile, Hank Azaria as Gargamel, Katy Perry as Smurfette, Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Alan Cumming as Gutsy, Fred Armisen as Brainy, George Lopez as Grouchy, and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy. Director Raja Gosnell is also back behind the camera. Screenwriters J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, and David Ronn are also returning, along with a newcomer to the Smurfs franchise, Karey Kirkpatrick (James and the Giant Peach, Chicken Run, Charlotte’s Web), proving that it takes five screenwriters to write something this unoriginal. The film will have some new faces, however, both on the human and the blue side. Brendan Gleeson joins the cast as Patrick ‘s stepfather, along with Christina Ricci and JB Smoove, who will voice “new Smurf-like naughty characters,” Vexy and Hackus. Uh oh, just “Smurf-like“?

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Boiling Point

Way back in January of 2010 I crafted a list of ten things I figured I’d hate in the following year. I tried to predict my own hatred, which can be difficult. Hate is the most wily and evasive of emotions, prone to erupting without warning. I made a few safe choices on the list, a couple of generalizations, but there were some surprises. Hell, one of the things I thought I’d hate I loved, while a few never even made it to the surface. Anyway, let’s take a look back at my look forward and see how things panned out.

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The Worst Films of 2011

There are two things you don’t want to watch getting made – sausage and the official Film School Rejects’s year-end worst-of list. Hideous, dirty, bloody, illegal stuff; many animals die in the process (disclaimer – no animals were harmed in the making of this list). It’s a fool’s errand, a losing battle, a terrible way to dig up the past pains of the year’s biggest flops – reverse therapy for cinephiles. But damn if the results aren’t hilarious. For this year’s Worst Films of 2011 list, our own Kevin Carr and myself teamed up to pick the most wretched of the wretched, the worst of the worst, the Adam Sandler films we’re all struggling to forget. There were many emails and even more tears. I doubt we’ll ever be able to look each other in the eye again. By the time Sir Carr and I were done volleying bad films back and forth at each other via the electronic mail system like a game of cinematic badminton that absolutely no one was capable of winning (and, really, how does one win badminton?), we were far too exhausted to even attempt to number the following twenty-two films in any kind of order. No matter, they’re all bad. We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to take to the comments to call what you think is the worst (and what we’ve, quite unforgivably, left off).

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray we celebrate the post-Black Friday hangover with a very light week. If you didn’t buy The Matrix trilogy for $28 dollars today, you should do that. Then move on to more pertinent matters, including the support of great horror comedies that sat on the proverbial shelf far too long, R-rated comedies about bombs and Werner Herzog’s journey into the depths of human emossshun, courtesy of really old cave drawings. It’s going to be a pretty diverse week, so you might want to keep reading. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil The Pitch: “What are you going to say? I don’t know what happened officer, these college kids just showed up and started killing themselves all over my property.” Why Buy? A few years back, when this unfortunately shelved genre comedy broke onto the scene in the snowy streets of Park City, Utah, I was one of those critics who was brave enough to name it one of my Must See Movies of Sundance 2010. We would later go on to include it in our list of Must See Movies of SXSW 2010. And it might as well have made our list of Must See Movies of SXSW 2011, as it played there, too. This movie spent more than its share of time in festival circuit hell. And now that it’s on Blu-ray, it’s time for folks like me to remind you that it’s one of the funniest, most clever flicks I’ve seen in a long while. And if […]

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Whereas Pixar has dominated the category in recent years, the sense that Cars 2 isn’t a shoe-in for awards season is offering a spotlight to a wider field. In fact, it’s also a wider field that will beget more nominees – if there are 16 eligible in the given year, 5 nominees will make the short list. If the numbers stay steady, this would mark the third time since the Best Animated Feature‘s inception in 2001 that there are more than 3 films up for the big prize. According to The Wrap, the list of films that have been submitted for consideration include: The Adventures of Tintin, Alois Nebel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Gnomeo & Juliet, Happy Feet Two, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Kung Fu Panda 2, Mars Needs Moms, Puss in Boots, Rango, Rio, The Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, and Wrinkles. Just because they’ve been submitted doesn’t meant they’re all eligible. Several haven’t done qualifying runs in Los Angeles theaters, and many are questionable because of their use of motion capture or live-action blend. In the mo-cap cases of Tintin, Happy Feet Two and Mars Needs Moms, filmmakers have been asked to discuss their methods and intentions with the process in order to prove eligible. The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks are also animation/live-action hybrids, so their fate is unclear at this time. Without them, and without, say, the Czech Republic’s rotoscoped Alois Nebel, the […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that’s a little tired, a little wired, and it thinks it deserves a little bit of appreciation around here! We begin this evening with a shot of Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, some old burly man and Thor’s Jamie Alexander on the set of The Last Stand. It’s good to see that The Governator hasn’t lost that charming expression.

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The Reject Report

They came. They stood. They weren’t afraid of a thing. And when the dust settled, they swept that up with the rest of the competition. Here in its third weekend out, The Help continues to pull in new as well as repeat audiences, and is very close to breaking the $100m barrier. Subsequent from its opening weekend, its percentage drops have been quite impressive: 23.1% down last weekend from the weekend before and 28.4% down this weekend from last. Though future weekends might see films open big enough to knock the period drama out of the top spot, its percentage downsizing doesn’t seem likely to grow, and The Help will end up being quite the success story come year end. And that’s even before the expected Oscar nominations for it are announced. Colombiana and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’s numbers were somewhat flip-flopped from what I anticipated. Colombiana was the only other film besides The Help to pull in double digits this weekend, but just barely. It didn’t perform too terribly worse than Olivier Megaton’s previous film’s opening weekend. Transporter 3 debuted with $12m, and ended up topping $100m worldwide. With Luc Besson’s name attached to Colombiana as well, you can expect foreign numbers to be much more favorable than domestic.

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The Reject Report

30 Reject Reports on the wall. 30 Reject Reports. You take one down, pass it around…I really thought about going through all 30 lines of lyric to that 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, but then I figured you’d probably just skip ahead anyway. So allow me. 30 Minutes or Less. Final Destination 5 IN 3-FRIGGIN-D! The Help. Glee IN 3-FRIGGIN-D! Yeah, they’re all hitting big this weekend, and some of them are sure to have a decent enough opening. But those apes, man. They’ve got the box office on primate lock-down, and they’re not letting anyone take the crown away from them. So before you ask “Why Cookie Rocket?” and start to debate me, think really hard about what that means. Then consider this. Why NOT Cookie Rocket? Why the hell not?

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It’s no surprise that Sony Pictures has gone ahead and scheduled the inevitable sequel to The Smurfs (hey, at least they waited until the first film was in theaters). The second Smurf-venture will smurf into theaters on Smurfgust 2, 20smurfteen. Sorry, I got some blue stuck in my throat — The Smurfs sequel (Smurf-quel? Fine, calling it now) will arrive in theaters on August 2, 2013. Smurf on. The Smurfs beat Cowboys & Aliens during opening weekend, and already stands at a worldwide gross of $135m over just eleven days in release. The film cost an estimated $110m to make, so while that profit margin isn’t huge as of yet, the film will have legs (little tiny ones, clad in little tiny white pants) outside the US, as The Smurfs already opened in first place in twenty-three international markets just last weekend. I have not yet seen the film, because I like to watch films that don’t hurt my eyes or offend my childhood. There are no other films currently scheduled for the August release date, so it looks like that particular date should remain firmly in their little blue-handed grasps. Thor 2 is scheduled to open the week before, and the only kid-targeted fare currently on deck within a month of the Smurf-quel is Despicable Me 2, reportedly opening on July 3. Just cede control over the Smurfs now (sigh). The sequel currently only has Jordan Kerner set to return as producer, but I’m willing to hold my breath […]

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The Reject Report

Can you even imagine? A world overrun by Reject Reports? It’s like there’d be no movies, but we’d still report the weekend box office. While I stew over the quandary that’s just created, the world outside is still running smoothly. Blockbuster movies are still hitting. Small indie flicks are dividing audiences around certain parts of the country. Transformers are raking in a billion dollars. But this week, like it or not, belongs to the apes. Not Nim. I looked into it, and he’s safe, but the other ones are about to rise up and start fight back. Let’s see just how well those apes can handle themselves against the collective force of Smurfs, Captain America, and Jason Bateman.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly movie news column that is definitely holding a picture of Harvey Dent. Not because it has anything to do with The Dark Knight Rises, but because it still believes in Gotham’s white knight. As any seasoned FSR reader could tell you, we don’t really like running an abundance of set photos. Because, as any filmmaker or film purist might tell you, set photos are never delivered with the right context or polish, thus you’re not really getting a look at the finished project. That said, I’m sure I’d be run out of town if we didn’t at least mention the new Dark Knight Rises set photos floating around the web, as they reveal Batman and a fully costumed Bane (Tom Hardy) duking it out in the snowy streets of Pittsburgh. The lead image tonight is perhaps the best of them, but more can be found over at ComicBookMovie.com.

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And what a sight it was. Especially when you consider the only two females of the bunch are Olivia Wilde and Smurfette. I’m not sure if that makes it weirder or more appealing. Anyway, what was believed to be a no-brainer for Cowboys & Aliens to take the box office proved to be more difficult thanks to a whole bunch of little CG creatures and Hank Azaria. NPH probably had a hand in it, too. When final numbers come out Monday, one or the other will surely pull ahead. They can’t be dead even down to the penny, can they? But as of now, The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens are tied for the weekend, one performing slightly better than expected and the other slightly worse.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column just trying to keep it real, man. We begin this evening with a few new shots from The Muppets, my now most anticipated remaining 2011 film. Quite a title to bestow, I know. Anyway, the folks at Rope of Silicon have updated their gallery. This includes a few movie stills, some behind the scenes stuff and that fresh poster I showed you last night.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr runs screaming from little blue people invading his life and seeks refuge in the old west, hoping that James Bond and Indiana Jones will protect him. When he returns home, he has a fight with his wife and uses the events of Crazy, Stupid, Love to put his relationship back together. What a godsend Hollywood can be for marriage woes. Finally, Kevin curls up for a long nap after an exhausting summer movie season with many more arrests than he ever thought he’d incur.

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The Reject Report

Some aliens are stupid. Other aliens are crazy. Some aliens are just in love, but we usually don’t see these aliens between May and August. No one wants to see alien love in their Summer blockbusters. They want explosions and people shooting those aliens with well-placed bullets. Which brings us to this weekend, where two films about aliens getting blasted by pesky humans find release. Of course, one is having a much larger opening than the other, and neither of them feature Smurfs. That’s right. I said Smurfs. We’ll talk about them here, too. Enjoy this week’s Reject Report, and if you want loving aliens, come back in November.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, it’s our great honor to have Harrison Ford join Jon Favreau, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde to talk about Cowboys & Aliens in a special feature. Plus, The Smurfs director Raja Gosnell learns a lesson from the little blue creatures, and Eric D. Snider goes up against newly-minted Reject Kate Erbland for the Movie News Pop Quiz. Put on your chaps, saddle up and ride. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Culture Warrior

You’d be hard-pressed to find two filmmakers who are more wildly different than Woody Allen and Terrence Malick. One is a notably prolific and economic filmmaker who still releases one movie a year well into his senior years, while the other is a perfectionist who labors over his films and has thus far released, on average, barely more than one movie per decade. One has an unmistakable public persona, while the other is a notorious recluse. One makes films about life in a great city, while the other turns his lens to nature and the experience of the rural. One is as much an atheist as his characters, while the other is a spiritualist who searches for “God,” whatever that may be, through the lens of the camera. Allen and Malick are, in many ways, perfect opposites. But after watching the strong new work by each of these talented filmmakers this past weekend, it became apparent that, at least in the shared thematic preoccupations of Allen’s Midnight in Paris and Malick’s The Tree of Life, these two ostensibly dissimilar filmmakers may have more in common than meets the eye.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as EruditeSmurf007 and NostalgiaFiend238 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair rewatches the trailer for The Smurfs in an attempt to figure out why something that harmless needs to be modernized. Weren’t they cute and lovable before? Does a movie like that really need to fake appeal to a snarky teenage audience or should children and their parents be enough? Who is responsible for Smurfette flashing her panties at everyone and who on the production thought pop culture references would buoy a terrible film? In shorter terms, why can’t certain film productions get childhood icons right?

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