Twilight

Reel Sex

Ladies and open-minded gentlemen, this is the weekend for which we have been waiting ever so patiently. Years of watching our fellow sisters remove clothing and undulate for the good of “story” has finally paid off, and we will have our day in the sun. Our fearless prince, director Steven Soderbergh, has reached into the depths of his vast (yet dwindling) bag-o-tricks and presented us with a simple masterpiece that has been on the tip of wagging tongues for months. Magic Mike is the product of a genius, and while it isn’t a perfect film, Soderbergh’s dedication to objectifying his male cast is reassuring and welcomed. It is about time ladies get a fluff movie that isn’t about shopping, shoes, or relationships, but instead two hours of glorious female gaze. These men are hotter than this Texas drought I’m currently suffering through, and I appreciated every moment I had with them. But what makes Magic Mike something of dreams is the film’s playful self-awareness that it is, in fact, meant to be a sort of man droolfest. Soderbergh knows what he’s doing, and instead of alienating his audience he embraces them, offers up a beer, and presents six sexy, shirtless men on a platter for the world to see. I’m sure a discussable plot is in there somewhere (and I will leave that to our film review), but I am more interested in reflecting on a handful recent films that paved the way for this glorious moment of shirtless wonderment.

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Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Jacob and Renesmee

I’ve made no secret of my slight distaste for the Twilight franchise. In fact I’m pretty sure some of my previous maligning comments will come in handy should you ever need to eat through the various hulls of The Nostromo. However, it’s fair to say these movies make a decent amount of money. It probably has something to do with, um, well, wow, look at all that money it makes! As we approach the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, because a story that epic is demanding of two movies which together comprise one giant disaster, whispers are already being shouted that the studio is planning to reboot the series once it takes it final, excruciatingly slow, bow. If you ask me, and we know you didn’t, Summit’s pathetic ploy to hold onto this cash cow long after it’s fully milked plan will require of a vastly different approach to “filmmaking” than the one to which we’ve heretofore been subjected. If I had to come up with five ideas for the Twilight franchise reVAMP, I’d write this piece I was assigned and categorize them thusly…

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Seems like only yesterday that Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) were out playing footsies in the forest as teenage girls and their older man crushes are prone to do, but the fact that one half of the couple is technically the walking dead was never enough to get in the way of human nature. So after much brooding, pining and moping Edward the vampire sunk his mysteriously functional member deep into his young bride’s fleshy crevasse, and now, several months later, they appear to have a seven year old daughter. EW has posted the first look of Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) on their Fans Only Facebook page, and in an apparent tribute to the Twilight series’ message of neediness and approval it requires you to “like” them for a glimpse of the girl. It’s a staged shot, as opposed to an actual frame from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, but I imagine the blank expressions will be the same. It may also be as close as Bella will ever get to a sandwich. The final film in the blockbuster franchise follows the new parents as they try to protect the fast-growing Renesmee from the Volturi even as they’re discovering the child’s impressive psychic abilities. Sadly, Edward and Bella are too distracted by the threat of a vampire army attack that they neglect to notice the real danger is much closer to home. Uncle Jacob (Taylor Lautner) just asked the young girl if she’s ever seen his […]

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Reel Sex

The past few weeks have been incredibly exciting for anyone following the curious case of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the sexually adventurous stars of E.L. James’s erotic romance e-book Fifty Shades of Grey. What started off as a Twilight fan fiction has turned out to be at the center of an American literary explosion not seen since James’s own inspiration was up for auction at Little, Brown, and Company in 2007. Now the foreign erotica import has not only been snatched up for seven figures by a literary arm of Random House Publishing known as Vintage (I am shocked, honestly), but as Kate Erbland mentioned Monday it has also been optioned by Focus Features and Universal. This has been a very busy month for the British author, and I don’t even have the heart to hate her for it. As an unabashed fan of erotic romance novels, I was taken aback by the fervor this bondage novel has caused, but not for the reasons many of my colleagues and friends share. Although I do tend to favor BDSM in cinema, bondage in erotic literature has never been my favorite. I’ve often felt it to be far-fetched, overly clinical, and even a bit stale. I mean, as clinical and stale as sexual power play, leather cuffs, and object insertion can possibly be when story and character development take a back seat.  This isn’t to say something like Fifty Shades of Grey couldn’t change my mind, because it instantly intrigued me […]

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The Hunger Games

Maybe our science fiction writers have failed us with all their damned pessimism, or maybe we’re all just obsessed with the world ending because it’s definitely going to stop spinning this year. Either way, everyone on this doomed planet is currently obsessed with the cold, distant Dystopian futures of hits like The Hunger Games. Now it’s time to figure out what it all means (which also means a bit of psychoanalysis). Good thing the Jennifer Lawrence-starring flick has people hungrily dissecting it for meaning. The results? Old Jewish heroines, our cinematic past, Occupy Wall Street, unspoken sexuality and the anti-Twilight.

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The first teaser for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was anemic not only because it was for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, but because it was a confused flash of nothing. The first full tease is 49 seconds that expands on that nothingness, but it still manages to make Kristen Stewart‘s Bella super creepy as her eyes glow a vampiric red as she stares down a poor defenseless deer. As the movie before it attempted shock with its WTF attitude toward bed-breaking sex, it looks like this one wants to solve an age-old mystery: Bella Swan killed Bambi’s mother. Check it out:

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is feeling hungry. Of course, this is nothing strange because he’s always feeling hungry. But this week, he’s extra hungry because only one movie is opening wide, and that is the highly anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel, The Hunger Games. So Kevin grabs a bow and arrow, a tub of magical antibiotics, tracker jacker repellant and a big bucket of popcorn to check out what is sure to be the next big young-adult-novel-turned-billion-dollar-franchise. (Spoiler alert: Kevin is still hungry when the movie is over, but that’s no surprise either.)

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Teasers are supposed to do something more than simply remind everyone that a movie is about to come out right? They’re supposed to get the blood flowing. They’re supposed to provide some foreplay. I guess it makes sense that after your main characters have already had sex, there’s no need for that, but this new teaser for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is confusingly short, choppy and creates a desperate need to scratch your head (not necessarily a desperate need to see the movie). See for yourself:

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Let’s be honest here, the first time we all heard about Adam Sandler’s cross-dressing comedy, Jack & Jill, it was already clear that it was going to be an epically awful abomination that would inevitably get the attention of the yearly awards for worst in film, the Razzies. And get their attention it did. Upon today’s announcement of the nominees for the 32nd Annual Razzie Awards, Adam Sandler has earned the distinction of being the most nominated performer of all time, receiving 11 nominations for his work in not only Jack & Jill, but also Just Go With It and Bucky Larson. Also, as a whole, Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions has scored a whopping 19 nominations overall for the three aforementioned films. While these numbers are staggering, especially since The Razzies only give out ten awards every year, they should probably come as no surprise. It’s hard to understate just how bad all of the work that Sandler has done this year is, how lazy and pandering every film that has his name on it ends up coming off, and how shamelessly self-aware Sandler seems to be about the awful choices he makes, all while gleefully counting his stacks of money. Some may say that it’s going too far to nominate the man both in the Worst Actor and Worst Actress category for Jack & Jill, seeing as he’s not really an actress, but not me. I say he deserves it. His ridiculous portrayal of a woman was just that […]

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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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Game of Thrones Season 2

What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s the column I’m filling in on as Neil Miller journeys to the mystical, frozen land of Chicago. It’s also a list of links to movie or entertainment related things that I either found interesting, noteworthy, or that involved super famous young girls from the Disney channel. Tonight we begin by getting a glimpse at the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. WinterisComing.net has a whole host of pictures from the second season that have reminded me of how much I like the show and reinforced the three reasons why I’m looking forward to new episodes so much: boobs, blood, and Brienne. Hopefully we’ll be getting a lot of each.

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The Hunger Games

Our wise overlord Cole Abaius recently pointed out one of the most burning questions in Hollywood this year: will The Hunger Games be the next big thing? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself ever since the project was announced. The fanbase is there, but doesn’t come close to matching the Twilight nation. And an even bigger question is whether this adaptation will reach non-fans, which will remain up in the air until the film’s released. The trailer was a mess and I can’t see this run-of-the-mill poster (courtesy of Moviefone) catching the eye of anyone who doesn’t obsess over the books. However, even if the marketing continues to rely on this image of Jennifer Lawrence looking like a plastic doll, my main hope will remain intact. It’s been over eight years since Gary Ross’s last film, so it’ll be nice having him back, franchise hit or not.

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With the Twilight Saga film franchise (thankfully) wrapping up this year, fans of author Stephenie Meyer are turning their attention to the next film to spring from one of her works. The Host is being adapted from Meyer’s crack at more adult fiction and, while the book itself is a touch more advanced than Twilight, it still relies on some familiar tropes – love triangles, concocted mythology, the somewhat sci-fi, and lots and lots of drama. And now it looks as if the film version (from writer and director Andrew Niccol) will have something else in common with Twi-land – a way too attractive cast. Saoirse Ronan has long been attached to play the lead character of Melanie Stryder, a teenage girl who lives in a future world where Earth has been invaded by an alien race (the Souls) who take over human bodies (a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers), but with a much less nefarious edge to their plan. Melanie is one of the few remaining full humans, and she spends her days on the run with her little brother and her boyfriend Jared (to be played by Max Irons), until she too is caught by the Souls (who are also highly organized) and implanted with one of the parasitic aliens – who eventually goes by the name Wanderer and then Wanda. Of course, Melanie and her memories prove to much even for the experienced alien (who has been implanted in no less than eight other species over […]

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The Walking Dead

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly hand-in-hand stroll down Newsworthy Lane, with a stop at the Noteworthy Café for a bite to eat. Then we’ll head back to my place and I’ll show you my signature move, the Well-Researched Scoop (I have two sources that will confirm its quality on the record). What do you say, baby? We begin this evening with part of a new midseason poster for The Walking Dead. Which brings to mind the question of the hour: Is anyone still exciting about this show? Sure, it has the occasional zombie and it was nice to see Glen “make a friend,” but beyond that, it’s become tired, has it not?

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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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When I first saw the Hollywood Reporter piece on Melissa Rosenberg surpassing Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland) as the highest-grossing female screenwriter, it took me a while to wrap my mind around it. After all, it’s the kind of statistic that only a baseball fan could love. It doesn’t take into account the thousands of other people and factors that go into making a film a world-wide financial smash, giving credit solely to the writer (and only if that writer has official credit on the movie). On the other hand, it’s the kind of fact that feels significant. That tells us a bit about the world we live in. Maybe in a way that upsets us. At its barest, it reveals that the female movie writer responsible for banking the most money did it mostly through the Twilight series – Step Up is the only non-Twilight property she’s credited for outside of her lengthy television resume. It also means she did it mostly through means of a book adaptation. After Breaking Dawn Part 1 topped $647m, her total landed at just over $2.56b.

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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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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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Much has been said, screamed, analyzed, obsessed over and dismissed about the Twilight series over the years that sometimes it is easy to forget it all began… with a book. That book alone created a fandom that was quickly compared with another famous book series (Harry Potter), but once the books were brought to the big screen, that fandom seemed to reach a whole new fever pitch and rocketed its leads Robert Pattinson (Edward), Kristen Stewart (Bella) and Taylor Lautner (Jacob) into superstardom (whether they were prepared for it or not). Seeing these books (or any book, for that matter) brought to life is always a matter of living up to the expectations of what people had imagined and envisioned while reading. While scene and character descriptions are usually included, the one wild card that is rarely described when reading is the music. Author Stephanie Meyer certainly noted the music that helped influence her while writing, the films themselves were essentially a blank slate for the Chop Shop’s music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas to inject life and movement into.

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Today People Magazine unveiled their annual “Sexiest Man Alive” winner, crushing the hopes and dreams of thousands of starving beautiful men who thought, maybe just this once, they could have been a contender (better luck next year boys). While Bradley Cooper is a tasty, if not boring, morsel of man, as far as I know he has yet to perform in a movie sex scene. Making him completely of no interest to me in regards to this column. Please correct me if I’m wrong in the comments, as I will for sure need to brush up on my Bradley Cooper sexy-time if it does exist. But enough about my personal disappointment in People Magazine’s cornering of the Sexiest Man Alive market, for today is also the day before the night before the opening of the fourth movie in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn: Part I. Now this little tween fantasy is definitely of interest to me for more than its loose definition of what constitutes child pornography. I have (like almost all women in need of a good train wreck) annually paid good money to the Summit gods for the Twilight experience, and this Friday will be no different. Fans of the sparkly vampire series have (im)patiently waited through the first three films for two Breaking Dawn scenes, one completely contingent on the other. If the press tour mumblings of the film’s stars are anything to believe, Twi-hards should already prepare themselves for some hot and heavy action during Bella […]

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