The Wrestler

Black Swan

You can call Darren Aronofsky many things, but what you can’t call him is unambitious. From a stylized depiction of a mathematician’s gradual descent into madness to a story of one man’s love and loss that traverses across a millennium to an unrelenting journey into the life-or-death stakes of the perfect ballet performance, Aronosky’s work has tackled an array of subjects that all bear his stamp: a pursuit of perfection shared unmistakably between himself and his characters. Even when the reach of his ambitions has exceeded his grasp, Aronofsky has always made films that bear the mark of a director unwilling to compromise, for better or worse. His latest, Noah, no doubt represents his most enterprising reach yet. At once an epic Hollywood spectacle and a fable updated to deal with fears of an impending environmental apocalypse, Noah is a strange and enticing combination of big budget studio fodder and bewildering yet beautiful gestures of visionary auteurism. So here’s some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the guy who made 3.14159 cool again.

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Say Anything Boombox Scene

When most people hear “music supervisor” they think of television and the person who places the songs heard throughout an episode. These days, most shows end with a highlight reel of the artists and music featured in the episode so you can easily figure out who sang what (and, they hope, go out and by the song). But music supervisors do not only exist in the world of TV, they also work on movies. As this past weekend’s Oscar broadcast proved, the main recognition for movie music falls to the film’s composer. Rightfully so. The composer does create the lion’s share of the music and helps deliver the overall impression a film looks to make on audiences, but they are not the only ones involved in shaping the tonal language. Original songs written for a film can become as iconic as the film they are featured in (right, Llewyn?), but placed music is just as much a part of the experience and those curating the choices are as big a part of the scoring process as the composer.

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IntroActorInjured

Like any workplace, injuries happen all the time on set – the only difference is that you don’t tend to burn your genitals while organizing a meeting or suffer major brain injury while carpooling for lunch, unless you suck at driving. On film sets, despite every precaution, these things seem a lot more organic. That said, it’s way more rare when an actor or actress willingly undergoes physical harm, either for the sake of the art or through sheer dedication to the role. I’m not talking about poor Tippi Hedren or Peter Lorre being forced to by their directors – no, these are actors who only had themselves to blame. For the sake of brevity I’ve also excluded crazy people who like to flip around, like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, from the list. They transcend a list like this, but there are plenty of other actors who gave their bodies to the craft in big ways

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IntroRedemption

Sometimes a person just doesn’t get along. In films, it can be the other characters that don’t mesh, or sometimes it’s the audience themselves who just can’t stand a single idiot character that won’t go away. I believe the term is “Jar-Jaring” or, if you’re referring to television, “pulling a Lori.” Last year I gave you a pretty okay list of characters that achieved excellent redemptions for their wrongdoings. Today I want to explore those who did not. These are the asshole characters that tried and failed, or simply didn’t try at all. Hey spoilers!

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Culture Warrior

We often don’t think of commercials as having authorship, at least not in the same way we think of movies. Commercials are created by advertising companies, by focus groups, by strategists; not by “artists.” But while the purpose of a 30-second ad may on the surface differ from the motive of a feature length film (though not always), both are media assembled through a particular economy of storytelling devices and are made often by a collaborative company of individuals. But commercials don’t often contain credit sequences, and thus the phenomenology of its making is cloaked and the personalities who made it unconsidered. The focus is on the product being sold, not the creative team selling it. So it can be surprising to find out that well-respected, top-tier, artistic filmmakers often direct commercials. Sure, many filmmakers regularly make commercials as a more lucrative and less time-consuming alternative to feature filmmaking, and there are many visual artists who have honed an ability to express their personality in various media forms, but a surprising number of supposedly cinema-specific auteurs make commercials, despite a lack of apparent monetary need or professional benefit. This subject came to my attention recently because of a series of articles on Slate last week by David Haglund about the oeuvre of the Coen brothers that included the filmmaking duo’s commercials in considering their larger cinematic contribution. It’s an interesting way to view a filmmaker’s career, for it forces you to look for their identifying traits and revisited themes via […]

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The question everyone has wanted to ask: is Mickey Rourke crusty enough to play crazy William Smith?

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As you may have noticed, the blogosphere is all a-twitter with Best of the Decade lists. To our credit, we here at FSR have published two lists. Now it is time to look at what everyone else is saying…

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funny-people

Deeper than most comedies, funnier than most dramas, and Judd Apatow’s most mature film. Gird your loins Rejects, as Funny People has arrived. Come inside to see what we think about it.

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RobocopREboot

We may have taken for granted that Darren Aronofsky was going to end up being the director for Robocop. It’s likely that he’ll still do it, but a new scheduling problem may make it that much harder to pull off.

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bigfan-1

I am very excited for Big Fan. There is a few reasons for my growing excitement but today’s excuse is this wonderful trailer.

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natalie-portman-header

There is something to be learned by looking at the current situation of director Darren Aronofsky and so many other filmmakers before him: if you make a critical hit such as The Wrestler, all of those ‘passion projects’ that have been collecting dust in studio offices in Hollywood seem to ‘magically’ gather steam.

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bdreport-wrestler

Don’t call it a come back on the account of the Blu-ray Report charging in with awesome recommendations, call it a comeback because Mickey Rourke is making his comeback in HD this week.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Rob Hunter continues his DVD buying rampage with a Battlestar Galactica spin-off, a major horror franchise box set and 2008’s great comeback story.

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megan-fox-sexy-1

Yesterday we reported on Megan Fox’s desire to be taken seriously as an actress. And today, we’ve got word that she will join Mickey Rourke in the indie drama Passion Plays. We’re confused.

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bp-springsteen

When it comes to Original Songs, Robert Fure doesn’t settle for only slightly related content. Has he taken his obsession with movie music to absurd heights? Yes.

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bp-brokenoscar

If you missed our live blog during the Academy Awards, fear not – Robert Fure saved you some RAGE.

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rourke-spiritspeech

By now you’ve heard — perhaps via our indisputably successful live-blog of yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards — that Mickey Rourke’s acceptance speech for his Best Male Lead award was mildly entertaining.

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Today’s daily diversion requires very little explanation. Mickey Rourke went on Larry King Live the other day, where he was forced to talk to Chris Jericho, whom he had called out a few days ago on the red carpet.

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Check Mate.

With Neil at Sundance, I’d like to take this opportunity to stage a coup and discuss Award’s season buzz with you, dear reader.

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What Happened to Kate Hudson

There are certain questions in life one puzzles over furiously. Today, we examine a tricky one by asking what the hell happened to Kate Hudson’s career? Cinema Sleuth is on the case.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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