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19 articles


The Second Smartest Thing Christian Movies Can Do Right Now

16 hours ago

Because of shoddy source material and a healthy sleaze factor, following the Fifty Shades of Grey production (and now bizarre marketing) has felt a lot like getting to watch Showgirls get filmed in real-time. Like we knew about the creation of a sexploitation, so-cringey-it’s-entertaining classic long before it creates its cult. At the very least, the project has done nothing to diminish the idea that it’s more neon stripper pole than Maggie Gyllenhaal in fishnets. Beautifully for better and worse, it’s become a movie that everybody knows and has an opinion about, which is a great place for the filmmakers and Focus Features to be, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for movies that want to use Grey‘s notoriety for their own purposes. Enter Freestyle Releasing, who is sending Christianity-based romance Old Fashioned to theaters the same Valentine’s Day weekend that Grey invades with its riding crop. This »

- Scott Beggs

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Could We Be Like ‘Lucy’ if We Tap Into Our Brain’s Full Potential?

17 hours ago

This weekend, Luc Besson’s Lucy topped the box office with more success than expected. You might say that the film performed above its potential. Coincidentally, the film is about a woman (Scarlett Johansson) who, through an unexpected side effect of being a drug mule, was able to access the full potential of her brain. This led her to various super powers, including being a genius in mathematical calculations, having the ability to diagnose medical conditions by hugging someone and controlling radio waves with her mind. The film rests on the belief that human beings only use about 10 percent of their brain’s full potential, and the drugs that leaked into Lucy’s system helped unlock the other 90 percent. It’s not the first time this theory has been brought to the silver screen. Bradley Cooper got similar powers in the 2011 film Limitless. Both the 90s cheese-fest The Lawnmower Man and the more down-to-earth 70s drama Charley »

- Kevin Carr

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Let’s Take a Journey to The Magnificent, Monstrous Skull Island

18 hours ago

Given the kind of hindsight that comes with being forty-eight hours outside of something (you know, minimal, but still readily apparent), it seems safe to proclaim that Legendary Pictures won Comic-Con purely in terms of jaw-dropping announcements. This year’s San Diego Comic-Con was mostly free of big shockers (we’re looking at you, Marvel), but Legendary managed to sneak in a doozy while everyone else was busy processing their first (though still expected) announcement that they’re making Godzilla 2 and that they’re sticking with Gareth Edwards to do it. It’s called Skull Island, and it’s the King Kong origin story that maybe we all forgot we wanted until we realized that, no, no, in fact, we would like it, especially one coming from the studio and screenwriter behind Godzilla (scribe Max Borenstein will pen the new film). The recent news that Legendary has also targeted filmmaker Joe Cornish to direct the film »

- Kate Erbland

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The Chilling Message Beyond the Hype and Backlash of ‘Blair Witch’

19 hours ago

On July 30, 1999, The Blair Witch Project expanded to a wide theatrical release and raked in over $25,000 per screen on over a thousand screens, thus becoming the first sleeper horror hit of that late summer, one week before The Sixth Sense opened. The weekend of July 30th solidified Blair Witch’s status as a phenomenon, but to recognize it as a defining date of the film would be to misrecognize what Blair Witch did. Rather than come about as an instantaneous cinematic event (in the way that the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain or the 25th anniversary of Batman have been nostalgically reflected upon this summer), Blair Witch’s reputation manifested as a slow unraveling over many months of speculation and word-of-mouth, from its chilling first-screening at Sundance to an Internet-based fury of speculation to a teaser attached to The Phantom Menace of all things. The film represented a first in many respects – transmedia marketing via the web »

- Landon Palmer

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The Apes, Trains and Brains of Summer Sci-Fi

20 hours ago

There’s no shortage of love for the way Marvel has crafted its Cinematic Universe, especially from yours truly. They’ve created an entire market for themselves by weaving nine — soon to be ten — movies together into an impressive spandex suit. From Iron Man in 2008 to this year’s unofficial summer kick-off movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, every Marvel movie is the next piece in a much larger puzzle. Like clockwork, we wait in darkened theaters through lengthy credits to get to the end, where a little tease usually awaits for what comes next. Each film is built with the next stage in mind. It’s a phenomenon not limited to Marvel, though. They simply seem to have perfected it. Warner Bros. is about to set off on a voyage to build its DC Comics universe. And Michael Bay this summer rebooted his entire franchise and took Transformers in a new direction. Every »

- Neil Miller

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‘The Den,’ ‘The Big Chill’ and ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ Are the Best Blu-ray/DVD Releases of the Week

20 hours ago

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Den Liz (Melanie Papalia) has received a grant to study The Den, a popular online video-chat service (like ChatRoulette) that matches up strangers for conversations, interactions and dick pics. After being pranked a few times by bored kids she witnesses what she believes to be a real murder and calls the police. Nothing comes of it, but she’s thereafter harassed by a particular user capable of infiltrating and controlling her laptop. Soon her friends and family are targeted by the unknown assailant and Liz is forced into an online fight with real-world consequences. You have every right and reason to be leery. This horror flick is composed entirely of footage captured on webcams, cell phones, GoPros and more. Even less promising, the images are displayed as video windows on a computer screen. I »

- Rob Hunter

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Required Reading: The Story of Hollywood and a ‘Passion of the Christ’ Sequel

21 hours ago

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “The Story of Hollywood in 10 Films” — Robbie Collin at The Telegraph attempts a simply/impossible feat of boiling down American industry filmmaking into .000000001% of its output. “The industry grew into itself, the star system formed, and filmmakers from around the world fluttered, moth-like, to Hollywood, bringing European elegance and style with them. Some, like Ernst Lubitsch and F W Murnau, were already successes at home. Others, like the Italian-born Francesco Capra, arrived in America as children and were seduced by Hollywood on its home turf. The film of 1934 was Capra’s It Happened One Night, and the Oscars agreed. (It was the first to win in all five major categories.) Here was another comedy that centered on an ordinary man on the make – in this case, Clark Gable »

- Scott Beggs

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The Summer Box Office Challenge: And the Winners Are…

28 July 2014 4:15 PM, PDT

They said it couldn’t be done. They called me mad at the university. They doubted my math skills and insisted on hiring an accounting team from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. They debated whether or not there should be a hyphen between “box” and “office.” But here we are, fourteen weeks later, and our inaugural Summer Box Office Challenge has come to a successful end. The last weekend of releases saw some heavyweight newcomers, and after the dust settled an action film led by Scarlett Johansson severely beat down one headlined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Did I mention she did it on a 60% lower budget too? Luc Besson’s Lucy brought in just under $44 million for the weekend — a great number for Besson and his highest opening since The Fifth Element in ’97 — and the hope is that Hollywood takes the right notes from these results. Last week’s bonus question asking which film would end up in fifth »

- Rob Hunter

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Christopher Walken in Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ May be the Next Great Jazz Orangutan

28 July 2014 4:05 PM, PDT

The Jungle Book is seriously crushing the casting game right now. This morning, Deadline revealed that two new actors have come aboard the all-singing, all-dancing, all-cg wildlife pic directed by Jon Favreau (as opposed to the other one, coming from Andy Serkis). Giancarlo Esposito, best known for portraying a dark-universe Colonel Sanders on Breaking Bad, will play the wolf Akela. And Christopher Walken, best known for a lifetime of skeezing people out by being Christopher Walken, will play the orangutan King Louie. Those two extra-talented thespians join Ben Kingsley as the panther Bagheera (yes, splendid), Lupita Nyong’o as mother wolf Raksha (really, really great), Scarlett Johansson as the python Kaa (this is perfect) and Idris Elba as the film’s antagonist, the tiger Shere Khan (good god yes). Also, there’s some newcomer named Neel Sethi playing Mowgli, but  he is not a well-loved Hollywood star voicing an extremely appropriate animal character. Temper »

- Adam Bellotto

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This Short Film Captures Infinity in Just a Few Wondrous Minutes

28 July 2014 1:00 PM, PDT

Why Watch? Imbued with Eternal Sunshine‘s DNA, this fantastic short film from Paul Trillo makes repetition interesting and vibrant by framing a single, unimportant man on an unimportant day faced with unlimited possibilities Gorgeously dynamic visuals are to be expected from Trillo (see his previous work Salience), but not only do we get abstractions like an Escherian tea pot eternally pouring into a never-spilling cup, we also get to see the banal made fresh. Sometimes that’s through the subtlety of fingernail polish colors shifting, sometimes from a television smashing to the sidewalk. There’s also a hint of Stranger Than Fiction here, as the narrator for A Truncated Story of Infinity discusses his generic subject with dry witticism and flatly offered profundity. It’s the blend of those sweeping, plain as day observations and the beautiful photography of common paradoxes that makes this short film a wondrous delight. What »

- Scott Beggs

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‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Red Band Trailer: Killer Babes and Josh Brolin’s Naked Butt

28 July 2014 12:00 PM, PDT

Score one for equality! Well, kind of. Fresh out of Comic-Con comes a brand new red band trailer for Robert Rodriguez’ and Frank Miller‘s Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (does this call for a “Dotpota” style acronym? “Fmscadtkf”? sounds like a bad governmental agency), one that applies just a smidge of the same lascivious behavior normally heaped on the ladies of the franchise to one of its (new) leading men. That’s right, folks, we’ve still got tons of brazen babes bounding around (most of them on a literal stripper walk, because), but now we’ve also got Josh Brolin‘s bare ass to ogle. And, no, we still have zero idea what this film is about, at least going by the trailers alone, which seem to exist just to remind us that some dames are worth…wait for it…killing for. Let’s figure this thing out, okay »

- Kate Erbland

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After Years of Attending, Comic-Con Has Lost Hype But Not Passion

28 July 2014 11:00 AM, PDT

It’s easy to hate Comic-Con. My view of things is probably a bit different from the average person, since I’m surrounded by people “in the industry” and it’s become cool over the last few years to use a tone of tired disgust when talking about the media explosion that takes place every year. More specifically, and you know this, we’re talking about San Diego Comic-Con, which over the years has become so big  that we just call it “Comic-Con” despite there being literally thousands of other Comic Conventions every year. Attendance at the event first eclipsed 100,000 individuals back in 2005. My first adventure was The Year of Watchmen, in 2008. By then, the crowd had ballooned to more than 125,000 people. This year it’s estimated that more than 130,000 people entered the exhibition floor. During the weekend it owns in July, it’s ubiquitous. You see it on Twitter, Facebook »

- Robert Fure

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8 Great Films About The Great War

28 July 2014 10:00 AM, PDT

Exactly one month after the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia, and after weeks of diplomatic negotiations that went nowhere, Austria-Hungary declared war on July 28, 1914 — a date often regarded as the first day of what would come to be known as The Great War, now better known as World War I. While cinema had been in existence for over two decades by the time the war began, WWII has greatly eclipsed its predecessor in terms of its breadth of cinematic representation. Yet The Great War – with its many intersecting transnational conflicts and its location at the historical precipice between 19th century trenches and 20th century machine warfare – has produced an incredible number of fascinating, haunting, and even touching stories about a world experiencing accelerated change, many of which have made their way to celluloid. So for the 100th anniversary of The Great War, we’ve assembled a list of 8 worthwhile films that give us a »

- Landon Palmer

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Comic-Con: Why Didn’t Marvel Announce Which Films They’ve Got Scheduled?

28 July 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

Before this year’s Comic-Con even bowed, Marvel Studios had already staked their claim, announcing a jam-packed schedule for the next five years, a continuation of their Marvel Cinematic Universe that is somehow both very ambitious and totally expected. As the news of this new calendar dropped in the days leading up to Comic-Con, it seemed fair to assume that the Marvel panel would include a section on those upcoming films and what titles are arriving when (remember back in 2012, when the Marvel panel included a gobsmacking section that announced Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, complete with official titles, titles treatments and concept art? remember what a hit that was?). And, with news about their Doctor Strange film reaching a fever pitch before and during the convention, it also seemed like a good time to throw the fans a bone about that one (even just a release »

- Kate Erbland

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Experience Comic-Con 2014 in Photos

28 July 2014 8:00 AM, PDT

Robert Fure gives you a tour of Comic-Con 2014 in a photo essay of his time spent in San Diego. Click here to check it out.

"Experience Comic-Con 2014 in Photos" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source. »

- FSR Staff

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What Did You Watch This Weekend?

28 July 2014 7:00 AM, PDT

The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other Fsr readers. The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend. The first of two Fantasia Fest films I watched this weekend, Gun Woman is also the least successful. It’s a revenge tale that leaves you disliking almost everyone up to and including the man pursuing revenge. The only real exception to your distaste is the titular character who’s bought, abused, trained to kill and then subject to a surgery that leaves pieces of a gun sewn into her flesh. The plan — an unnecessarily elaborate and poorly conceived effort involving a necrophilia club at a nuclear waste facility — unfolds with a level of crass exploitation »

- Rob Hunter

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Required Reading: When God Closes a Video Store, Does He Open a Window?

28 July 2014 5:51 AM, PDT

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “Passing of a Video Store and a Downtown Aesthetic” — Tom Roston at The New York Times profiles the famous Kim’s Video on the edge of its demise, tying its end to the loss of a cultural tidal pool of appreciation and quirk. It’s a bittersweet read, but the money quote is undoubtedly and without surprise: “I am the loser. Netflix is the winner.” “Lucy is the shot in the arm the superhero genre needs” — Monika Bartyzel at The Week relates Scarlett Johansson’s mind-accessing badass to Dr. Manhattan’s loss of humanity. “Let’s Talk About Sex: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s ‘Love Meetings,’ 50 Years Later” — Daniel Walber at Nonfics attempts to discover why a documentary that shouldn’t feel anywhere close to taboo today still feels fresh and challenging. “How »

- Scott Beggs

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‘The One I Love’ Review: The One You Love May Not Always Be the One You’re With

27 July 2014 11:13 PM, PDT

Fantasia International Film Festival 2014 runs July 17 to August 6. Follow all of our coverage here. They say bartenders make great therapists, but does that still apply long after the bar has been sold and the bartender has moved on? Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) would probably say no after their couples therapist (Ted Danson) sends them on a very strange weekend retreat. The married couple arrives at the prescribed destination to find that the grounds — including a main house, guest house and numerous gardens — are theirs and theirs alone for the weekend. Well, kind of. It seems that part of the good doctor’s plan to help the couple work towards becoming better versions of themselves, and in the process become a better couple, involves a very unique way of facing and experiencing those better selves. The One I Love is about some very universal feelings and themes — ones we’ve all experienced in real life »

- Rob Hunter

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Comic-Con: Kevin Smith Explains How His New Movie ‘Tusk’ Is Like Herpes

27 July 2014 5:28 PM, PDT

Three years ago writer/director Kevin Smith pushed himself as a filmmaker with Red State. The quasi-horror movie was polarizing for both Smith’s fans and critics. Good or bad, it’s definitely far more ambitious than Smith’s previous movie, Cop Out. He was trying something new. Red State was a 180 turn in the director’s career. With his new picture, Tusk, Smith is continuing down the road he set out on back in 2011. A trailer for the film was released shortly after its Comic-Con debut. From the looks of it, Tusk features the old and the new Kevin Smith. That’s a good thing, because when Red State turned into a shootout, the old Smith was missed. Smith’s finest work generally involves characters talking around a table. Tusk doesn’t seem to stray too far from Smith’s dialogue-heavy past, since the film does feature two characters stuck together in a house, so »

- Jack Giroux

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