Your Highness

The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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The Worst Films of 2011

There are two things you don’t want to watch getting made – sausage and the official Film School Rejects’s year-end worst-of list. Hideous, dirty, bloody, illegal stuff; many animals die in the process (disclaimer – no animals were harmed in the making of this list). It’s a fool’s errand, a losing battle, a terrible way to dig up the past pains of the year’s biggest flops – reverse therapy for cinephiles. But damn if the results aren’t hilarious. For this year’s Worst Films of 2011 list, our own Kevin Carr and myself teamed up to pick the most wretched of the wretched, the worst of the worst, the Adam Sandler films we’re all struggling to forget. There were many emails and even more tears. I doubt we’ll ever be able to look each other in the eye again. By the time Sir Carr and I were done volleying bad films back and forth at each other via the electronic mail system like a game of cinematic badminton that absolutely no one was capable of winning (and, really, how does one win badminton?), we were far too exhausted to even attempt to number the following twenty-two films in any kind of order. No matter, they’re all bad. We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to take to the comments to call what you think is the worst (and what we’ve, quite unforgivably, left off).

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David Gordon Green is one of those rare filmmakers who has the comic power to make fairly despicable or unlikable characters oddly sympathetic, and oddly, likable . While Green believes everyone in the world is likable – and how he thinks that I have no idea – he certainly seems to love his antiheroes. Very few David Gordon Green characters one would want to hang out with in real life, but on the big screen, he makes oblivious, frustrating, and moronic fools highly watchable. Hopefully that’ll remain the case with his latest R-rated comedy, The Sitter. Thanks to David Gordon Green being able to say a 1,000 words a minute, similarly to Danny McBride, in my 15-minute conversation we were able to cover a lot of ground. From the greatness of breakfast tacos, a topic I didn’t foresee being discussed, to Soul Surfer topping Your Highness earlier this year, Green goes in every direction possible with any mentioned topic. Here’s what The Sitter director had to say about why one should live in Austin, going through hell with actors, dealing with ego, and when too much Sam Rockwell crying becomes self-indulgent.

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This Week in DVD

Another week, another Tuesday filled with DVD goodness. We’ve got four titles worth owning, and they come in two distinct pairs. First up is a one-two punch of nostalgia from the fine folks at Shout! Factory as they release Hey Arnold! and M.A.S.K. unto the world. And then on the more adult front we have two awesomely violent (in completely different ways) movies from Asia including the action romp Clash and the gory but thoughtful thriller Dream Home. Other releases this week include Paul, Camp Hell, Super, Your Highness, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series With a name like Matt Trakker you can’t help become the leader of an international team of good guys fighting terror and evil wherever you can find it. M.A.S.K., or Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, is Trakker’s team of do-gooders who lead normal everyday lives as chefs, rockers, and billionaires, but when their Casio watches beep they head out to save the world. Sure Miles Mayhem and his nefarious VENOM organization can get a bit silly, but it follows a similar structure to GI Joe in its acronyms, code names, and constant use of explosions that continually toss everyone to safety. Still, it’s a fun hybrid of Joe and vehicular shifting shows like Transformers. All sixty five episodes are spread across twelve discs (in two cases, both held within a sleeve) alongside a handful of featurettes on the show.

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray we take trips around the world, from the car-loving world of the UK to the war-torn lands of 1950s Algeria to the sci-fi wasteland of the American southwest with a stop in the middle ages and perhaps even a little jaunt over to Mars, which apparently needs a little bit more than moms. In a balanced week of releases, we’ve got plenty to buy, a few to rent and yes, even a few real stinkbots to avoid. So lets get to it. Top Gear: The Complete Season 16 Being not a car guy, I have only recently discovered the consistently brilliant world of Top Gear, courtesy of the folks at the BBC. It’s hard to imagine myself enjoying such a show, as I’m not into the nitty gritty, nuts and bolts of what makes a car I will never be able to afford tick. That said, I do love watching crazy people. And more than being a show about cars, this is a show about crazy people who are allowed to drive very expensive cars in very dangerous ways. Enter Jeremy, Richard and James, the three amigos of motor enthusiasm. In series 16, they begin with a trip up the coast of the United States, where they find themselves in situations that allow them to be every bit the snobby, ridiculous Brit stereotypes that would drive Aston Martins. Their subtle prejudices are hilarious, making fun of every Joe Bob and Jim Bob Nascar country has to offer. […]

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Boiling Point

Ah summer. It is finally upon us. Okay, technically, in scientific terms, summer doesn’t begin until June, but in movie season, May is summer. Suck it, scientists. Summer brings many wonderful things: warmth, trips to the beach, drinking in the daylight, bikinis, and summer blockbusters. Unfortunately, summer also brings many terrible things: crippling heat, overcrowded beaches, drunken idiots, fatties in small swimsuits, and summer blockbusters. See, it’s a joke – some summer blockbusters are awesome, some are terrible. All of them, however, are designed to be fun, something many in the critical community can abide or swallow without gagging. Soon you’ll start seeing phrases like “a real summer movie” or “mindless summer fun.” You know what I call movies like that? Regular fun.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column that brings down the Hammer of Thor upon you with a spectacle of lightning, news and think pieces from around the web. And not just once in a while, but every single night (except for Saturdays). Time to kick your week off right with news, news and Doctor Who… There is something curious about the timing of the first round of Thor reviews to hit the web. Knowing Paramount, their publicity team was very calculated in lifting the embargo on a select number of reviewers. They are good at massaging the buzz like that. That said, I trust Drew McWeeney at HitFix, and he seems rather positive on the film. That’s promising. There are also some balanced takes found via this Cinema Blend round-up, as well as an equally impressive and balanced reaction from Peter Sciretta at /Film. Take it one of two ways: the expectations bar is being set low for a big surprise, or it’s being set low to lessen the blow of the film being a lame duck. It could still go either way. We’ll let you know for sure when we review it.

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The Reject Report

Imagine a quiet, two-story house on a dark small-town street. Inside, a group of teens prepare to watch a movie, something scary, something hi-def. They have wealthy parents. As they drink their respective beverages and the FBI warning sits on the screen unobserved, the phone rings. One of the teens answers. On the other end, a high shriek emits, a shriek the other teens hear coming from outside. They go to the window to look, and flying through the air, headed straight for them, is a tropical bird. It has recently been launched from a giant slingshot jutting up out of the front yard. The bird’s target has been set. The teenagers are unsuspecting. Some of them might die this night. They scream, and thus begins this week’s Reject Report, Rio vs. Scream 4.

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The fact that a major studio made Your Highness is both reassuring and baffling. The commercial appeal is there, obviously, but this isn’t your standard comedic fare. David Gordon Green’s 80s fantasy throwback is filled with crudeness and audacity. This is a film with a child molesting puppet; isn’t that such a thing of genius which defines ambition? I believe so. A film like Your Highness is, as stated before, reassuring because we’re witnessing such talents as Green and co-writer/star Danny McBride getting to further explore their divisive sensibilities in a rather sizable studio film. Danny McBride didn’t just set out to make a parody or a satire, but a genuine adventure film that, which he admits, isn’t for everyone. Your Highness is not the pot comedy one expects, but a road movie about lovable and immature idiots. McBride’s Thadeous is a moron in all senses of the word, except an actual self-aware moron. There’s a charm to his baboon-like nature. Your Highness is almost a coming of age story, but about a grown, pot-smoking, and crude man. Here’s what Danny McBride had to say about getting a comedy with a large scope, not making a spoof, crafting lovable idiots, and the difficulty of practical effects:

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The Reject Report

It was really the battle of the two evils this weekend. Unfunny CG Russell Brand vs. Unfunny Russell Brand in a suit. The kids won out, and Hop was able to pull into the #1 spot for the second weekend in a row. Its drop wasn’t all that insignificant, about what was to be expected with there being no counter-programming for family entertainment. I guess kids just don’t have much interest in Helen Mirren these days. Hop was, however, able to pull ahead of its reported $63-million budget with its second weekend take and shed a glimmer of hope for those wanting more adventures starring the Easter Bunny. We can all pray for the best there.

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Let’s play a game. I’m going to tell a joke, you decide if it’s funny. Ready? Why did the chicken cross the road? Balls. If you chortled at that, then have I got a movie for you. It’s called Your Highness, and in addition to a once ambitious director and a cast filled with actors who really should know better it features a script that never met a punchline it couldn’t replace with a swear word or a drug reference. Why build complicated gags when you can just say ‘fuck?’ Why give depth to your characters when you can just have them wear a severed cock around their neck? All the dirty words and phallic props in the world aren’t going to ruin a movie, but using them in place of real comedy, actual jokes, and smart writing sure as hell isn’t going to help. A king has two sons of opposite worth who could only be related in Hollywood. Fabious (James Franco) is heroic, righteous, and fabulously coiffed while his brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) is foul-mouthed, portly, and socially retarded. One of Fabious’s many adventures nets him a fair maiden named Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel, speaking barely a line or two more than she spoke in Avatar) who he plans to marry. Their happy day is spoiled when the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps her with plans to use her virginal vagina as a dragon egg incubator. The two brother set off on a quest to rescue the maiden […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spends a long day in the multiplex, checking out a variety of films from alcoholic romantic comedies to nature documentaries with elephants and orangutans. He drinks himself silly and hits on Greta Gerwig in Arthur, narrowly escapes being killed by ass-kicking teen assassin Hanna, narrowly escapes getting his arm bitten off by a tiger shark in Soul Surfer and peeps in on Natalie Portman undressing for a swim in Your Highness. Too bad she’s pregnant now, ‘cause Kevin just ain’t into that scene.

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The Reject Report

Ah, remember Dudley Moore and how funny he was in Arthur with the top hat and the bubbles and slurred speech? What’s that? You know the name, but you’re both under 30 and can’t stand the classics? Warner Brothers is hoping for that, too, as they’ve now remade the film starring Russell Brand. Now they’re hopes rest on it returning an Arthur-sized fortune. That could be very well what happens here, and Brand will probably have his name splashed all over the #1 and #2 movies this weekend. He’ll have some competition from some pothead knights, a pair of adolescents. One is an assassin. The other is a surfer. The surfer might not be much competition, but that pairing would make one hell of a buddy movie.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features a young girl who could kick your ass, an old boy who could buy and sell your whole family, a pair of pothead fantasy role players, and a young girl who couldn’t kick a shark’s ass.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Only the most high-octane dose of movie news you could possibly have in the middle of the night. Everything in here is worth reading, friends. Except for my commentary. You could probably take or leave that, depending on your mood. The image above marks the first official image from Fright Night, the Craig Gillespie remake 3D remake of the 80s horror film of the same name. In this shot, Colin Farrell plays the vampire next door, and he appears to be looking to start a diet comprised completely of Anton Yelchin. Over at Cinematical (which I feel dirty linking to…) they have shots of Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Imogen Poots, who has one of the more adorable names ever.

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Thanks to the talents of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the label “spoof” has lost all respect in the cinematic world. Often credited as “two of the writers of Scary Movie” (both as a joke and warning sign), Friedberg and Seltzer devolved the spoof film using an arsenal of pop culture references, bathroom humor and non sequiturs. Keeping it classy was never the goal. While their rampage through genre and cultural phenomena may never end, spoofing doesn’t have to live with shame either. Plenty of filmmakers have figured out ways to satirize the movie world and tell their own stories at the same time — it’s the movie-going public that’s afraid to use the dreaded s-word. Let’s suck it up and admit the truth: these ten films are hilarious, well-made and spoofs through and through:

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Right now, you’re walking around without a shirt featuring the stars of Your Highness, and your life is worse off for it. I’m not sure why, but it is. Maybe you don’t have a shirt at all, and the neighbors are starting to stare. Maybe you really need Natalie Portman’s face on your chest. Maybe you’re looking for something to donate to the needy. Whatever the case, we’re giving away a shirt and a few other things from the movie, and entering is easier than falling off a horse covered in armor. Here’s how to enter:

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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. How will you know what to watch this month? Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of March, taking naps, playing tether-ball, and researching movies at the last minute to keep you informed about what’s coming out in April. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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Slimy puppets with water pipes! Natalie Portman channeling Xena The Warrior Princess! An evil magician! This is definitely not the typical Medieval action adventure (except for the evil magician. That’s sort of par for the course). David Gordon Green is a director that takes chances, which should always be applauded. The trailer here for Your Highness is sort of a mixed bag, but the good parts are great, and the average parts aren’t exactly bad. Plus, it’ll be great to see Danny McBride attempt something out of his normal wheelhouse playing characters whose main motivations are scratching crotches and being mildly offensive. That last line of the trailer kills. Your Highness hits theaters April 8th, 2011, and you can see the trailer in even higher def at Apple.

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The Week That Was

Welcome to another scorching edition of The Week That Was. As you may have gleaned from our articles about terrible honeymoon spots and our lack of posting any weekend articles (including this day-late entry into our weekly recap series), a few of us went out into the wilderness to watch Cole Abaius tie the knot. It was adorable, he and his bride will surely be happy and she even agreed to watch movies with him (even the scary ones). We drank, we went skeet shooting, we drank some more and in the end, we had a wonderful time helping the man who has often been referred to as “the glue that holds FSR together” off into the world of marriage. That said, even though Dr. Abaius was off work this week in preparation for the big day, we did have all kinds of things buzzing on the ole site this past week. Here’s a quick round-up.

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