The White Ribbon

Paths of Glory

Exactly one month after the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia, and after weeks of diplomatic negotiations that went nowhere, Austria-Hungary declared war on July 28, 1914 — a date often regarded as the first day of what would come to be known as The Great War, now better known as World War I. While cinema had been in existence for over two decades by the time the war began, WWII has greatly eclipsed its predecessor in terms of its breadth of cinematic representation. Yet The Great War – with its many intersecting transnational conflicts and its location at the historical precipice between 19th century trenches and 20th century machine warfare – has produced an incredible number of fascinating, haunting, and even touching stories about a world experiencing accelerated change, many of which have made their way to celluloid. So for the 100th anniversary of The Great War, we’ve assembled a list of 8 worthwhile films that give us a glimpse into this complicated conflict that helped shape the 20th century.

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Still from Ajami; Kino International

Throughout the month of April, Film School Rejects will be dedicating the bulk of our Sunday programming to a series we call “Movie Geek Self Improvement.” We’ve tasked our writers with finding ways to improve your life — from losing weight to restoring old VHS tape jackets — we want to help you get the most out of your pop culture obsessed existence. Want to sit around watching movies will simultaneously learning about cultures other than your own? Sorted by region – here’s a list of engaging films that you may not have seen. You can watch to gain a bit of insight about places from all over the world, while your butt gets sore from sitting on your couch at home.

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Michael Haneke

Earlier in the year, Michele Haneke became the 7th director in history to win more than one Palme d’Or at Cannes. The record for most Palme d’Or wins is now a seven-way tie. The writer/director’s work is often enigmatic or experimental, but he’s also crafted stories that plumb the dramatic depths of loving relationships and extensively explored the beauty of music. From The Seventh Continent to Love, he’s made us question our role as viewers, challenged concepts of freedom and security, and did it all by making entertaining films. Some of which involve pig slaughter. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the man who turned Jean-Luc Godard’s most famous quote upside down.

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Culture Warrior

For the first time in recent memory, I’m going into Oscar Sunday having no idea who is likely to take home many of the major awards. I’m sure there are entire websites out there devoted to an accurate prediction of who and what will take home the gold on Sunday, but there seems something a bit different about this year. Of the nine films nominated, I don’t have a clear sense of what would be the top five had AMPAS not changed the number of entries in the top category. While The Artist may clearly have more of a chance than, say, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there’s no grand battle between likely leads like there was between The King’s Speech and The Social Network last year. And I don’t think I’m alone in stating that this year’s uninspiring list of nominees seems to reflect a growing indifference against the ceremony itself. Sure, on Sunday, like I have every year since I was eleven years old, I’ll watch the entire ceremony from beginning to end. And, like every year since I was twenty-one years old, I’ll make fun of the pompous and excessive self-congratulatory nature of the proceedings. But while in most years I have had some skin in the game, besides the two nominations afforded to the excellent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the presence of the transcendentally excellent Pina in the Best Documentary Feature category, this year I didn’t even get a sense that the Academy was awarding […]

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This Week in Blu-ray

June was a rough month for This Week in Blu-ray. Only a few of you actively missed it, judging by the emails, but I’m sure that even more of you felt a hole in your very souls due to the lack of weekly Blu-ray buying advice. By my count I am four weeks behind as of today, four weeks that each had worthy releases — some of which you may have purchased already. So in an effort to be brief, I’ve selected the most prominent releases and mixed them in with the Blu-rays hitting shelves this week. It’s my way of smashing four weeks of release together and wiping away the blood. In the end, it should give you a good road map for what you should have been doing all along.

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A town full of Crazies and a standoff between Red and Blue! Someone built a time machine out of a hot tub! Who stole the baby Hamm? Kuchar is a surname not a place! An award-winning White Ribbon! Percy Jackson and the cumblemore road-trip!

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Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography

There seems to be more discussion about this category than usual, even from casual movie-goers, for one big reason — Avatar. The inclusion of James Cameron’s latest indie featuring copious amounts of CG imagery begs a very basic question: what is cinematography? All that and more is just one click away.

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he Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars is notable for two things year in and year out. First, the winning film is usually one that most Americans have not seen (and will probably never see) for various reasons. And two, the Academy almost always gets it wrong.

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In the online world, our lives wouldn’t be complete without the embattled entity known as the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Which means this year’s awards season wouldn’t be complete without this list of winners.

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Welcome to the first Reject Report of 2010 and the question this week is: will Avatar be stopped? Or maybe the question is “can it be stopped?” because I don’t know if it’s possible right now.

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Notorious for its surprise screenings and its launching platforms for legit Oscar contenders, this little town in Colorado is about to get some serious attention…

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