Welcome to another Reject Recap. Can you believe how fast time is flying by this year? It’s already December, and soon it will be the end of the 2012 (and end of the world?). And it’s been a surprisingly busy time for big movie news and rumors. Who can keep up with all the reports and commentary every day? If you haven’t been able to, we invite you to at least check out the highlights down below.
First, we must give you the weekly reminder to check out our reviews of the new theatrical releases (Killing Them Softly; The Collection; California Solo; What a Man; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) and interviews with Killing Them Softly director Andrew Dominik and The Day’s director and cast, including Dominic Monaghan, Ashley Bell and Shawn Ashmore. This week we also looked at promotional artwork for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim and watched trailers for such films as Black Rock and something called Osombie.
Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.
The big news – well, rumor – of the week brought about a lot of discussion, as The Dark Knight Rises co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt is said to maybe, possibly, potentially be linking Christopher Nolan’s Batman films to the planned Justice League film by donning the Caped Crusader’s costume for the superhero team. That means a John Blake Batman rather than Bruce Wayne. Jack commented on the story: “if Warner Bros. wants a tonal and thematic tie to the world Nolan created, then keeping Levitt around is a really smart move. Plus, from a storytelling standpoint, it isn’t such a bad choice, since they already got most of Blake’s origin story out of the way.”
More on Justice League:
Of Course ‘Man of Steel’ Will Begin the Push to ‘Justice League’
While the fanboys had their big story, the festival crowd got some massive news, too, when the major programs of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival were unveiled. First up was the competition slates and NEXT selections, from which Kate had a ton of anticipated titles to highlight, including Shane Carruth’s long-awaited follow-up to Primer. The next day, we received the list of films in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight and New Frontiers sections. Kate spotlighted the following: “Some of the most eye-catching of these programming picks include Jeff Nichols’ Mud (Nichols makes his return to Sundance after the success of his 2011 entry, Take Shelter), Pablo Larraín‘s No, Ben Wheatley‘s Sightseers (yes!), Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell (the actress and director’s first documentary, which we’ve covered quite often already), everyone’s S-VHS (that’s another big “yes!”), and Jim Mickle‘s English-language remake of We Are What We Are (you know, the family-o-cannibals movie).”
This week’s biggest discussion not associated with news or rumor is an original response to a media pundit admitting to downloading bootleg TV episodes and saying it’s the distributor’s fault for not releasing them online legitimately. Piracy has long been a hot issue, and Cole offered some insightful commentary this time around: “There are very real, very complicated business-side issues at work here that go beyond one fan wanting something and expecting companies to recognize that need in order to fill it. Fans especially should be intimately aware of these issues, because we will be on the forefront of changing the landscape. Perhaps a radical shift is needed, and maybe it will happen, but it won’t come because someone couldn’t wait two days to watch Homeland.”
Another provocative discussion came this week in a response to The Hollywood Reporter’s annual director’s round table, which once again featured no women filmmakers. In his latest Oscar column, Daniel shot back with a look at all the great work made by female talents in 2012. Here’s one film he thinks deserves recognition: “there’s one omission from the season that I just don’t understand. Lynn Shelton‘s family and character study, Your Sister’s Sister, is at least as witty and emotionally resonant as Silver Linings Playbook, if not much more so. The cast of Rosemarie DeWitt, Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass might not be as famous as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, but that’s not a good enough reason for this excellent work to be sidelined. Out of all of these names, excepting the already Oscar-winning Bigelow, Shelton seemed the most likely to be included in the season. Hopefully, with the film now boosted along a bit by the Gotham Awards and the Indie Spirits, something will stick.”
More awards coverage:
The Academy Will Have a Record 21 Animated Films to Choose From For Oscar
Film Independent Spirit Awards Announces 2013 Nominees, Including ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’ ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’
This week’s filmmaking tips came from one of the greatest masters of cinema, as Cole presented a look at things to learn from Akira Kurosawa. Here’s one of the tips with comment: “’The most important part of my film is the scenario for without a good script, actors are not much use.’ Again, do you have some time to polish that script just one more time? This fundamental truth about movies is often (maybe because it’s so obvious) pushed aside, especially when special effects and famous faces seem to engage audiences. Even the big studios are beginning to relearn this powerful lesson (Battleship anyone?) because there’s nothing like a stellar story to send audiences out of the theater in a rush to tell their friends.”
For this week’s listicle, David Christopher Bell looks at some major achievements we don’t often think about. Why aren’t there honorary Oscars for biggest explosions featuring actors (Transformers 2) or biggest indoor movie set (Batman Begins). The winner of the record for longest production time for a single film is notable because a really great new documentary called Persistence of Vision highlights the story of The Thief and the Cobbler. From the list: “Richard Williams is a pretty determined guy. Around 1964 he decided to make an animated film based on the stories of Nasrudin. In 1994, his film – The Thief And The Cobbler – was released under Miramax. That’s right. Thirty goddamned years. Poor guy just couldn’t get this thing off the ground despite it having some of the most beautiful and intricate animation you’ll ever see. The problem, as you might have already suspected, was money. Money and time. Not to mention that the entire project was closer to art than entertainment – and you know how much kids love looking at art.”
Michael Cimino’s infamous period epic Heaven’s Gate received the Criterion Collection treatment with new DVD and Blu-ray releases out last month. But is it proper treatment for a film that necessitates a second chance? In his Criterion Files column, Landon criticized the release, concluding: “With scant special features, Criterion’s position on the film seems neutral and ambivalent, and this for a film that seems impossible to have a neutral position on. But then again, there’s something admirable about forcing a film that has been overwhelmed by context to speak for itself: maybe placing the film in a position where it can not only stand alone, but in pristine condition, is the most definitive attempt made thus far at allowing Heaven’s Gate a pure, fair, unencumbered reception.”
Responding to the hubbub over the New York Times review of celeb foodie Guy Fieri’s new restaurant, Landon provided us with a terrific comparison between film and food criticism and food and film experiences. And he noted how major figures of cultural industries, like Fieri and his possible cinematic equivalent, Adam Sandler, are open to greater scrutiny than others in their field. Here’s one comparison: “By all means, critical discourse should be able to effect outcome if it’s pervasive enough. But regardless as to whether or not it does, there’s an important difference between A) writing a bad review for a guy who has a long-running cable show about processed food or a financially successful movie series whose habitual output makes it feel like processed food, and B) writing a bad review for a struggling restauranteur in an outer borough or a no-budget film by a first-time filmmaker.”
Every week we hear about another remake in the works, whether it’s something beloved or something like Waterworld. The latter is reportedly going to be redone as a cheesy TV movie for the SyFy channel, and Kate had a proper response: “Obviously, of all the Universal titles available to SyFy, the one that makes the most sense for them to remake is Waterworld. Clearly. Let’s most definitely use the vast coffers of SyFy, a network known around the world for their top-notch effects work and huge budgets to remake a film that was, at one time, the most expensive movie ever made and one that still reigns as one of the biggest flops in modern movie history. Yes, SyFy, this is the one.”