Up

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It’s not likely that anyone will be seeing 56 Up without first having seen the rest of the Up series. And those who have seen the other seven installments will have a hard time not watching the latest. In that regard, it’s somewhat review-proof. Fortunately, I can still recommend it by way of recommending the entire Up series as a whole, which these days is not difficult to get your hands (or at least your eyes) on. In anticipation of the Montreal release of the film this weekend, Cinema du Parc has been screening the other films, while here in the U.S., all of them are available to stream via Netflix Watch Instantly. The Up documentaries are as significant and necessary as any film series, and it’s one of the few franchises through which you can see characters grow and change over the course of half a century (Germany’s Children of Golzow documentary series is another, while we can dream that Truffaut’s fictional Doinel series could have continued had the filmmaker not died too soon). It began in 1964, not as a planned record of lives or social experiment but as a one-shot special for Granada Television’s World of Action current affairs series. Paul Almond directed the short work, titled Seven Up!, which looked at children aged 7 from around Britain and of varied socio-economic backgrounds to offer a glimpse of those who’ll be running the country in the year 2000. Later, Michael Apted, who was a researcher at Granada […]

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For our 150th episode, we decided to go back to the first show’s conversations, and we discovered something mildly depressing: that the discussions are pretty much the same. In 2012, we’re still talking about the topics of 2009; Transformers (a fourth is on the way), G.I. Joe (a delayed sequel is coming), Avatar (a dozen follow-ups will keep James Cameron busy until he retires), Marvel flicks (which have dominated) and remakes (which have not). Good thing we changed the format of the show a while back. Beyond the great repetition, reviewing the news from 3 years ago reveals a lot about the state of modern filmmaking through the lens of hindsight. Werner Herzog is a highlight, and revisiting the releases (Drag Me To Hell and Up) gives us an idea of what might actually endure. On this week’s show, we re-form the team from that pilot episode – site publisher Neil Miller and associate editor Rob Hunter – to dip ourselves in the cool waters of nostalgia and try to figure out what, if anything, is different about the movie-making landscape after 150 shows. Download Episode #150

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Brave

Brave has already made a milestone for Pixar as it marks the 13th straight release to debut at #1. No surprise for a brand that’s loved around the world and continually crafts memorable movies that resonate with children and old children alike. But where does it rank against other Pixar openings? According to numbers from Box Office Mojo, The Movie Formerly Known as The Bear and the Bow made $66.7m domestically in its first weekend, making it the fifth highest in the production company’s history. Here’s the full ranking:

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Pixar Scenes We Love

The love of discussing movies is something you and I share, dear reader. Otherwise, what the heck are we doing here? And with few exceptions, there isn’t any kind of film that I love talking about more than the various works of animation created by talented artists, renderers and storytellers throughout the history of the medium. Few do it better and merit as much discussion as the folks from Emeryville, California’s own Pixar Animation Studios. And with the release of their 13th film this week, a princess story called Brave, it’s reason enough to discuss some of the best individual scenes from the Pixar catalog. Personally, I’ve never been hooked on franchise pieces like Toy Story or Cars, but have always loved Pixar’s more stand-alone efforts. Many of which, as you’ll see from the assembled list, come from visionary storytellers Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter. These filmmakers and their teams have pushed the envelope, even inside the already expansive confines of Pixar’s world. From their films I’ve assembled six Scenes We Love from the films of Pixar Animation Studios. It may not be the definitive list, but it’s certainly the one that lives within my own movie-loving heart.

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Pixar Character Logo

If there’s any outfit that celebrates the team sport aspect of filmmaking, it’s Pixar. What began as the Graphics Group at LucasFilm has evolved into its own behemoth of wonder and magic. Not just pioneers of technology, they’ve sought to invent in order to put stories out into the world – using computer animation for the ancient purpose of spinning tales and crafting characters. Led by Ed Catmull, the production house (which was bought by Disney in 2006) boasts luminaries like John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and many more. There newest film, Brave, is in theaters this week, so here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from RenderMan and company.

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With Brave, Pixar’s latest film, not hitting theaters for another month, the studio is still looking to capitalize on some early summer dollars, particularly when it comes to the impending Memorial Day holiday weekend. The three-day weekend has a surprisingly slim release schedule that’s not particularly kid-friendly (its only two wide releases are Men in Black III and Chernobyl Diaries), so Pixar’s decision to re-release four of their most popular films exclusively to AMC Theatres for the weekend is a total no-brainer. From May 25 to May 28, select AMC locations will be showing Toy Story 3, Ratatouille, Up, and Wall-E on a rotating schedule as part of the “Pixar Summer Movie Weekend.” Each film will also come with a classic short from Pixar and an exclusive new look at Brave. While it would be nice if Americans used the upcoming three-day holiday to, I don’t know, go outside?, there are worse things to do with your kids (or your adults) than to take them to check out some Pixar classics in theaters. Some of these films haven’t been in theaters for nearly five years (Ratatouille specifically), so this offer will likely provide a first chance for some tiny Pixar fans to see their favorites on the big screen, and that’s a pretty charming prospect. Also, if you go to see Wall-E in an Austin-area theater, the odds are high that you’ll see the Head Reject snuffling into his beard.

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Last month we featured one of Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s director tribute montages, the one for Michel Gondry. He did an excellent job showing off the visual power of Gondry, as well as David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Danny Boyle, and Baz Luhrmann. Now he’s cut together a video to showcase the God-like power of Pixar. It’s not like any of us need a reminder of Pixar‘s ability to make us shed waterfalls and get oversized lumps in our throats, but Dijkhuizen does a damn good job of doing so. Heart and wonder is what the studio does best, and this montage perfectly encapsulates how they do it Prepare to feel like a child again:

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Culture Warrior

With the release of Pixar’s Up, last year saw a great deal of conversation surrounding the ghettoization of animated movies at major awards shows. This debate resulted in something of a minor, qualified victory for animated cinema of 2009, as Up was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture since Beauty and the Beast, but then again it sat amongst a crowded bevy of nine fellow nominations, and animated films remain unthreatening to their live action competitors because of the separate-but-unequal Best Animated Feature Category. I’d like to take this space to advocate for the big-category acceptance of yet another marginalized and underappreciated category around awards time: non-fiction films.

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Pixar Studios

Yesterday a trio of Rejects — including myself, Brian Gibson and Dr. Abaius — sat down to watch and review Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray, as I am due to review it for This Week in Blu-ray. And the discussion went to, as it always seems to do, our favorite Pixar movies…

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Tonight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hand out the 82nd Annual Oscars. And like any great movie site would, we will be updating our site live along with the ceremony. We will also be live-blogging the event, with much of the FSR staff providing up-to-the-minute commentary on the winners, the speeches, and everything in between. Come join!

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Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Read as we break down the films nominated for Best Picture and what their chances are of taking home the prize. We’re pretty sure it won’t be Crash.

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Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

The Best Animated Feature category — as you know — celebrates the best of the year’s animated fare. It is also the Academy Awards’ youngest category, first taking root in 2001. It was created ten years after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast became the only animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture. This year, almost 20 years after Beauty and the Beast and almost ten years after Shrek won the first Best Animated Feature award, we find ourselves once again with a first.

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Even with South by Southwest (SXSW) only a week away, we’re already looking ahead to April 8th-16th and the Dallas International Film Festival. In its first year free from the title of the AFI Dallas Film Festival, Dallas IFF is pulling out some big guns as it announced today its first 12 titles, as well as a big award being given to one of animation’s most impressive directors, Pixar’s Pete Docter.

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It’s Academy Awards time again, and even though we all know the awards are basically an irrelevant exercise in mutual masturbation it’s still fun to watch. This year sees a wide variety of films gain entry into Oscar history via nominations for Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted. Some deserve the honor, while others are based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire.

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It is quite early in the morning, even here in the Central Time Zone. But so many of us in the movie world were up early, watching as Anne Hathaway unveiled the nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, which will take place 33 days from now.

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Check out which of your favorite television shows and movies won with this complete listing of PGA winners. Tiger Woods isn’t on here.

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Some years at the cineplex are just better than others. Which years those are can always be debated, hence the reason why FSR writer Paul Sileo and FSR’s resident devil’s advocate Josh Radde sat on their collective asses to hash out whether or not 2009 was particularly strong or notably weak.

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Welcome to the 2009 Reject Report Box Office Year in Review, and what a record-settiing year it was. As it turns out, the race for the title of 2009 Box Office Champ remains up in the air as we speak.

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In the last month of the past decade, we put our readership through the ringer. We unleashed list after list of our favorites of the decade and the year. And if you can suffer through one more round of awesomeness, it will all be over. For now.

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This summer, a movie came out that made the divide between the critical voices in film and the ticket-buying masses more apparent than ever. Dr. Cole Abaius explores.

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