Vanishing on 7th Street

This Week in Blu-ray

After a few weeks of hellish uncertainty, This Week in Blu-ray is back to being on time. That is, if you count being available at some point on Tuesday as being “on time.” Which I do, for the record. Moving on, the most important thing to remember is that we’re back with some advice in one of the most diverse weeks of Blu-ray releasing so far in 2011. We’ve got a new one from Criterion, a few classics, action films for people who wish they were Jason Statham, horror films, an animated superhero epic, and a movie starring Kat Dennings. There’s something for everyone this week. Pale Flower (Criterion) I must differ to Roger Ebert for a moment, as he says it far better than I ever could: Pale Flower is “one of the most haunting noirs I’ve seen, and something more; in 1964 it was an important work in an emerging Japanese New Wave of independent filmmakers, an exercise in existential cool. It involves a plot, but it is all about attitude.” What Masahiro Shinoda created in 1964 is an enduring and indelible excursion into Japan’s underworld. It’s also a relentlessly cool film for its time. Criterion, to their credit, has gone to great lengths to preserve it and restore it for HD Blu-ray. They’ve included an uncompressed monaural audio track, brand new video interviews with the director and a new (and allegedly improved) English translation. As this is my first experience with Pale Flower, I can’t say how […]

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This Week in DVD

One of the best things about writing for a movie website like Film School Rejects is access to the “hookers and blow” combo deals at film festivals. That probably counts as two best things, but the takeaway to remember here is that there are the occasional perks to the gig. The actual best thing though (aside from meeting some great and fun fellow movie lovers) is exposure to films I may never have seen otherwise. One such example is this week’s Pick, an American indie that I only caught via screener when it hit theaters… in the UK. Other releases this week include a re-release of Dario Argento’s fantastic Deep Red, a vengeful Djimon Hounsou in Elephant White, the gorgeous Minka Kelly in The Roommate, Jason Statham stretching as an assassin for hire in The Mechanic, Anthony Hopkins drinking Chianti with Satan in The Rite, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Brotherhood A group of hopeful fraternity pledges find themselves in a real pickle when the initiation process results in several serious crimes and one pledge bleeding to death on the couch. This is a fantastic thriller that rarely takes a minute to breathe once the action and suspense starts. It’s also filled with strong performances including what deserved to be a star-making turn by Trevor Morgan. From my my full review… “[This] is a rare and unexpected success in that it takes a relatively well worn plot, jettisons […]

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The Week That Was

This week our Saturday tradition known as The Week That Was takes on a new look. And as I’m sure you probably won’t notice (because I’m not entirely convinced that anyone reads this column), I will be the first to point out that the new format was at least in part inspired by a new feature I read over at Cinematical. And because sometimes the best ideas are stolen, I’m not sorry. I just can’t apologize for finding a better way to help you catch up on all of the excellent content you may have missed here on Film School Rejects. I won’t do it. Now lets forget all about this nonsense and focus on what matters: the best articles of the week, as brought to you by the lovely and talented FSR contributors.

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Drenched in atmospheric dread, Brad Anderson’s Vanishing on 7th Street is a slight yet haunting thriller that replaces easy answers with the pervasive sense of unknowable, evil forces at work. Propelled by an unexplained mystery – Detroit’s electrical grid fails and people start vaporizing in the darkness – the movie offers a crash course in economical filmmaking while espousing the fundamental truth that nothing scares quite like what we can’t see or understand. The set-up is simple: Days after the cataclysmic event, four strangers – possibly the only survivors left in the Motor City – wind up in a strong, generator-powered bar on 7th Street. They are TV reporter Luke (Hayden Christensen), movie theater projector Paul (John Leguizamo), nurse Rosemary (Thandie Newton) and adolescent James (Jacob Latimore). With no answers, no clear next step and sinister animated shadow portrait figures crawling along the walls as the power dims, the quartet tries to find its way to some form of permanent light.

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The Reject Report

Liam Neeson throwing elbows, Martin Lawrence throwing his weight, and Alex Pettyfer throwing just about everything in the room with his mind are what’s on the docket this weekend. It’s an eclectic mix of comedy, sci-fi, and mystery/thriller that should prove successful for the overall numbers, but what will come out on top? Let’s see how each of these films breaks down going into the box office.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of January combing through Wikileaks, calling Cleo, and building balsa wood trailers to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in February. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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Damn fine director Brad Anderson is back, and once again he’s looking to thrill you. Last time we checked in with the director of Session 9 and The Machinist, he was giving us a fear of trains and Russian people who look like Ben Kingsley with his 2008 film Transsiberian. That film rounded out a trio of excellence in the last decade. To kick off this new 10-year frame, Anderson will debut Vanishing on 7th Street at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival. It’s a survival thriller that calls back to 28 Days Later (when you wake up, everybody’s gone) but also calls back to some of Anderson’s earlier work with Session 9. The trailer is up and down, but we do know this for sure: Anderson is at his best when he’s creating taut, atmospheric thrillers that ooze with tension. And there are few concepts more filled with tension than “don’t let the lights go out, or you will die.” Let the fun begin after the break, where I’ve conveniently assembled the trailer and the official synopsis. It’s also worth noting that you should not discount this movie based on the involvement of Hayden Christensen. A quality director can overcome his usual wooden effort.

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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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