The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week in DVD! Some great, good and sadly deficient releases await you including The Sunset Limited, Knuckle, season two of Rocko’s Modern Life, the second to last Twilight film and more! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Project NIM In the early 1970s a douchey professor at Columbia University set out on an experiment involving cross species communication by taking a young chimpanzee from its mother shortly after birth and placing it with a human family to be raised as one of their children. This documentary from director James Marsh is ostensibly about that chimp named Nim, but the people who pass in and out of his life are just as much the subjects here. Their motivations, actions and attitudes offer a smorgasbord of typical human behaviors that none of us should be proud of regardless of where you land on the issue of animal ethics, and the result is an oddly fascinating glimpse at the human psyche as interpreted by our closest living relative.

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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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The Reject Report

Like a mic. Drop the ball. Walk off the stage. Oh, I guess you have to say something witty or snarky before that, don’t you? Well how about some box office analysis? We’ve got two big hitters opening up this weekend, both of them reaching for different audiences, and both of them likely to have decent openings here. The star-studded girlie night is probably going to beat the R-rated Adventures in Babysitting remake, though. Okay, it’s not really a remake, but, I mean, come on. Just look at that trailer. That film, by the way, is The Sitter starring Jonah Hill. He’s found moderate success in his newly acquired leading man status. A $17.5m opening for Get Him to the Greek was impressive enough in the summer of 2010 despite the film not having much of a branding behind it. The Sitter is also the new film by David Gordon Green, who had good numbers with Pineapple Express ($23.2m opening weekend), not so much with Your Highness ($9.3m opening weekend). The Sitter has a good chance of coming in somewhere between those two, a little less than what Jonah Hill pulled for Get Him to the Greek. Expect The Sitter to make somewhere between $15-16m, a good showing but not enough to topple the other new release here.

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The Reject Report

Out of all the family movies that were marketed towards reuniting families across America this weekend, and it’s the Twilight movie that came out on top once again. I can’t say I’m shocked, though. Only in its second weekend, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 dropped 69.8% from three-day weekend to three-day weekend. But its take last weekend was so huge that hardly any film could compete with it, even with such a massive drop. That level of drop wasn’t a shocker, either, seeing as how New Moon dropped 70% upon its release in November of 2009. As it stands, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is still in third place among overall domestic gross for the Twilight franchise, ahead of the first film and about $80m away from either New Moon or Eclipse. With a reported budget of $110 – nearly double the cost of Eclipse, the second most expensive film in the series – you would think Summit Entertainment is thankful that the series is headed towards its end. Still, you have to look at worldwide box office, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is running smoothly with $488.8m overall. It’s still a solid investment, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will only be putting more and more dollars in Summit’s coffers. The Muppets had fine footing over the weekend, too, even better when you factor in their 5-day total. It’s not quite the $65.2m The Muppet Movie pulled in total domestic in 1979. Of course, with inflation adjustment, The Muppet […]

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Culture Warrior

When I purchased my ticket for the Thursday night midnight show of Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, I had no idea what I was in for; not because I hadn’t seen any of the previous Twilight films – I have, in fact, seen them all – but because I had never seen a Twilight film in a theater before, much less on opening night. The Twilight subculture befuddles me, as I’m sure it does any non-initiate of the series. Having seen all the films, I still feel like I’m viewing them from afar, like it’s some strange anthropological project of a phenomenon whose worth and value I will never fully understand. Twilight seems to encapsulate the drastic changes that have taken place in big-budget event filmmaking in the last thirty years. Rather than a film made with the intent of mass appeal (like franchises ranging from Indiana Jones to Jason Bourne), the Twilight films play almost exclusively to a specific – but dedicated – demographic. Of course, one could make this argument about many film franchises. Everything from Star Trek to The Dark Knight certainly have rabid fanbases at their core, but the audiences for these films seem to be “filled in” with a significant amount of casual fans. For example, I once viewed the Harry Potter films similarly to the way I now approach Twilight – not in terms of filmmaking quality, mind you, but in terms of being a cult phenomenon surrounding a fictional narrative that I […]

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That’s not to say it didn’t make blockbuster dollars this weekend. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 did make its groove on several record charts. It had the third biggest opening day with $72m. It had the second biggest opening in November behind New Moon, the second film of the franchise. And it had the fifth largest opening in history. Those are some impressive placements in the grand scheme of things. But this is Twilight we’re talking about, and any way to shed a negative light on the subject is grounds for some back-patting. The fourth film of the series, and first of the two-part finale, still had a very impressive debut, another clear indicator the franchise is anything but losing steam. Summit Entertainment did just right for themselves when they bought the rights all those years ago. It was a risky gamble a la Warner Bros. committing to the seven-part Harry Potter series, but, like Harry Potter, this one has proven to be paying off in abundance. With an additional $144m in foreign markets, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is already nearing $300m worldwide, a three-fold return on the reportedly $110m film. With the final final movie of the series hitting November 2012, Summit is sure to be looking for their next big venture in long-term franchising. I’m not sure the Step Up series has it in it to make up for the Twilight movies ending, but, in a perfect world…

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in layers and layers of rain gear to brave the estrogen storm that comes with the showing of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I. After enduring that non-masterpiece, he dances down a few screening rooms to watch the new Happy Feet movie. Confounded by the gelatinous goop that masquerades as movies this weekend in American cinema, Kevin eventually curls up in a ball and softly weeps.

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As the “worldwide phenomenon” that is The Twilight Saga of films (adapted from Stephenie Meyer‘s equally as popular and blockbuster-selling quartet of novels) has progressed through the years, it has become increasingly difficult for those not already inoculated into the cult of human-vampire-werewolf love triangles to process, enjoy, and understand just exactly what they’re seeing on screen. Which is a nice way of saying that the tale of Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Jacob Black, and a whole mess of other humans and mythological creatures has spiraled almost totally and nonsensically out of control. Following their star-crossed high school courtship, unsteady human Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her smoothie vampire suitor (Robert Pattinson) have decided to take things to the next level. For most eighteen-year-olds (or ostensible eighteen-year-olds with Edward’s immortal appearance), that would mean getting down in the carnal sense – but for Edward and Bella, that means getting married (his choice) so that Bella can finally be turned to match her lover and his family (her choice). These are certainly big decisions for a girl who is barely an adult, but they’re made immeasurably more difficult by a hairy problem – teen werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is just as in love with Bella as Edward is. That’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in a straight-faced nutshell. Yet, even fans of the series must admit that the final entry into Meyer’s series is absolutely crammed with elements that, at their best, could be described as bizarre. […]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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