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Broken Projector: Boxing Day

23 minutes ago

This post is in partnership with Cadillac This summer, Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenged producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants made a short film over a single weekend in late June, and you can watch the semi-finalists’ films at the Make Your Mark website. The 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. We’ll be speaking with a co-lead for one of the semi-finalist teams, Tim Wen, whose short film Unexpected Arrival earned one of the top spots and a chance to compete for the grand prize. He’ll talk about the challenge of making something quick without a budget and how to aim the camera in a way that hides your flaws. Plus, while Geoff is sleeping off an egg nog bender, I’ll offer three ingredients for a successful boxing movie »

- Scott Beggs

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Film School Rejects Will Return in 2015

19 hours ago

Because we like every single one of you (even you, anonymous commenters), we hope this posting doesn’t find you until later. We hope that you’re celebrating the holidays with family, friends and even a few enemies. We hope that whether you’re relaxing on the couch surrounded by relatives or heading to the movies with other Christmas orphans, you are having a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. In the spirit of the holiday, the Film School Rejects team will be taking some time off. We will resume publishing in January with our massive 2015 Movie Preview. We’ve got a lot of great plans for the next year and we can’t wait to share it all with you. Until then, be safe out there and don’t forget to read our 2014 Year in Review.

"Film School Rejects Will Return in 2015" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It »

- Neil Miller

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The Oscar Hopefuls: Why ‘Wild’ Deserves Recognition for Editing More Than Acting

24 December 2014 11:00 AM, PST

Film acting is a difficult craft to judge. Actually, most film crafts are difficult to judge because they’re not usually very transparent. When you go to see live theater acting, you are certain you’re watching the extent of an actor’s performance. You’re directly witnessing their abilities. When you’re watching a film, however, you’re seeing the compilation of selected takes and a chopped-up performance. It’s more likely that a film director can get a good performance from an actor by perfecting every brief segment given in each brief shot and then constructing one out of those building blocks. Typically I look at a film’s editing when judging its acting merits. Choppier films can seem an overcompensation for weaker acting talent, while long shots are more akin to theater and require strong actors to hold those uninterrupted scenes. A perfect example of the latter this year is Birdman, which »

- Christopher Campbell

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Living in The Moment with J.C. Chandor and ‘A Most Violent Year’

24 December 2014 10:00 AM, PST

At first glance, it may look like J.C. Chandor is hopping from one genre to the next, but the versatile writer/director has in fact built a rather unyielding trio of thematically cohesive stories, sharing the common denominator of characters facing extreme, in-the-moment crisis. Margin Call navigated the troubled waters of 2008’s financial collapse and coolly examined the reactions of its anti-architects over the course of an eventful night. All Is Lost dived into literally troubled waters, in telling the tale of a man lost at sea for a number of hostile days. His latest, the deliciously slow-burning A Most Violent Year –which was recently named the Best Film of 2014 by National Board of Review- follows a hardworking immigrant Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac, winner of this year’s Best Actor accolade from Nbr) with a growing oil business in New York City circa 1981; statistically, when the city’s infamous crime rates were at an all-time high. Abel »

- Tomris Laffly

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How to Watch The Interview: In Theaters Christmas Day, On VOD Today

24 December 2014 10:00 AM, PST

The Interview. The movie that caused a geo-political crisis. The poster child of cyberterrorism, millennial patriotism and our modern struggles to protect free speech. Stoner comedy. Soon you will be able to see The Interview — the comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen and journalists who are asked to use their exclusive interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un to commit an assassination. You’ll be able to see it in a movie theater or in the uniquely American tradition of sitting on your own couch, in your own living room, with no pants on. After two weeks of turmoil over the release of this otherwise innocuous farce, Sony Pictures has delivered an All-American Christmas Gift to the world (except for North Korea). Below, we’ve rounded up all the available details for the re-re-release. We can now tell you how you can watch The Interview.* First and most importantly, The Interview »

- Neil Miller

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Olive Films Bring Film Noir and Otto Preminger to Blu-ray for Christmas

24 December 2014 9:00 AM, PST

Olive Films releases classics old and new (but mostly old) on a monthly basis, and it’s not uncommon to find pockets of a theme at times — same actors, similar genre, etc. — and their selection of titles that hit shelves this week are no different. The seven films can be broken into two groups as four of them are film noir examples from the late ’40s and early ’50s, and the three more recent titles are all directed by Otto Preminger. My exposure to both is not nearly as deep as I’d like, so these offered up a great sampling of the noir genre and Preminger’s resume. Three of the films are genuinely fantastic, but none of the seven seem to enjoy wide popularity — this is somewhat baffling when you look at the powerhouse casts including the likes of Alan Ladd, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, William Holden, Michael Caine and others. Keep »

- Rob Hunter

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I Have Never Seen ‘White Christmas’

24 December 2014 8:00 AM, PST

Classic Christmas movies have never been my bag. I’ve still not seen It’s a Wonderful Life and I’m iffy on musicals, too. I don’t dislike them or anything, there’s plenty I’ve enjoyed. I just haven’t seen a lot of older ones. But hell, White Christmas is my sister-in-law’s all-time favorite, apparently, so I decided to give it a shot. Here’s what’s weird about White Christmas: It’s oddly modern. By that, I mean it does a lot of things that people decry as the death of Hollywood ideas today. For example, it’s a remake. Specifically, it’s based on Holiday Inn (yes, like the hotel chain — they’re named after the film) which was another Irving Berlin movie and also starred Bing Crosby. That famous song, “White Christmas”? It didn’t even come from this film. It came from Holiday Inn and they just re-used »

- Ashe Cantrell

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The First Entourage Trailer Brings All The Bros Back to the Yacht Party

24 December 2014 7:29 AM, PST

As with most of my perception of the eight season run of the HBO show Entourage, I’m now convinced that its movie spin-off is going to be primarily about Ari Gold, the angry agent played by Jeremy Piven. In between sequences of bikini-littered parties and driving in expensive SUVs, there will be plenty of Ari. Also, series creator Doug Ellin (who returns to write and direct the movie) has also brought back the usual bros: Vince, Turtle, E and Drama. Yes, they weren’t kidding. The first Entourage trailer has arrived. Soak it up, bros. Entourage is due in theaters June 5, 2015.

"The First Entourage Trailer Brings All The Bros Back to the Yacht Party" 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 »

- Neil Miller

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‘Focus’ Trailer Shows Us What Will Smith Is Up To These Days

24 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

Is Will Smith still a national treasure? That’s what the second trailer for Focus has me considering. Years ago it was impossible to find someone who hadn’t succumbed to the charms of Big Willie. Not only did he give us “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It”, but he quickly proved himself as a hugely bankable and likable movie star. Smith was a charismatic star, but not exactly an actor with massive range. Great actors have the capability of surprising audiences, but Smith, by and large, gave his fans what they wanted. Every once in a while he’d change things up, but we’d usually end up with the same wisecracking presence onscreen, and there’s nothing entirely wrong with that. There was a demand for his easygoing charm, at least until recently. His last starring role was in After Earth – a major critical and box-office failure and all around bad movie. This »

- Jack Giroux

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‘In The Heart of The Sea’ Trailer: Should We Start Calling Ron Howard An Auteur?

23 December 2014 2:20 PM, PST

Ron Howard doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s seen as a journeyman, and while maybe that’s a fair label, it’s often used to dismiss his work. It’s understandable some people undervalue the guy who directed The DilemmaThe Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, but Howard is also responsible for Apollo 13Parenthood, freaking Night ShiftThe Paper, Frost/Nixon and A Beautiful Mind. What’s respectable about Howard as a filmmaker is that, even this far into his career, he’s trying new things and pushing himself. Sometimes the result doesn’t always work, but a journeyman isn’t the kind of director that takes the occasional risk like Howard does. Last year a huge gamble of his paid off: Howard made one of his best films with Rush – a movie filled with energy, passion and excitement. The movie wasn’t a hit at the box-office or at awards ceremonies »

- Jack Giroux

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How ‘A Most Violent Year’ Changed Composer Alex Ebert’s View on Music

23 December 2014 12:00 PM, PST

Alex Ebert‘s score for A Most Violent Year ebbs and flows in a way that proves the composer is not afraid of quiet moments. “Abel’s Theme” sounds almost triumphant, but slowly strips away the brass elements to leave something much more subtle and underplayed. This near silence speaks directly to the film’s lead, Abel Morales (played with steadfast determination by Oscar Isaac). Abel is a man of action and a man who keeps the promises he makes, but it is in Abel’s more quiet moments that you start to see the cracks behind his perfectly crafted persona and life. For a film whose title contains the word “violent,” A Most Violent Year is anything but. Both director Jc Chandor and Ebert know how to use, and play into, the silences resulting is a slow burn of a film that causes the violent moments to stand out by not having them constantly fill the »

- Allison Loring

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Precedents for ‘The Interview’: A Brief History of Hollywood’s Political Self-Censorship

23 December 2014 10:00 AM, PST

“For some, theaters were a place to shelter from the troubles of the world, but they were also where most Americans were confronted by vivid images of the troubles themselves, brought home in footage that was more immediate and overwhelming than newspapers or radio broadcasts could ever be.” The above quote, excerpted from Mark Harris’ “Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War,” is made in specific reference to theatrical newsreels in 1940, which exposed Americans to stark images of WWII while the Hollywood features that they introduced were prevented from acknowledging the war in such a direct fashion. The gap that this pre-intervention limbo period produced between fiction and non-fiction speaks to a greater paradox that has overtly and covertly determined the American experience of commercial moviegoing: the fact that, as I argued two years ago, Hollywood regularly “eschews reality just as it borrows from it.” As »

- Landon Palmer

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Just How “Nicholas Sparks” Is The First Trailer for ‘The Longest Ride’?

23 December 2014 9:00 AM, PST

Way back in August, we gleefully/somewhat confusedly broke down a then-new trailer for The Best of Me, this year’s single Nicholas Sparks offering, to determine just how “Nicholas Sparks” it actually was. Verdict: very Nicholas Sparks! So it wasn’t entirely shocking when the finished product, a sappy and soppy love story starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, proved to be just as Sparksian in its delivery. Sparks is back again with yet another feature film (since 2012, the author has averaged one film based on his novels per year, so no one should ever be surprised when a new one crops up, which is terrifying but true), one that just might mix up the brand. Kidding! It looks extremely Sparksian, but perhaps The Longest Ride will at least benefit from a slightly new-sounding backdrop: bull riding. Starring Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood, The Longest Ride explores the fated love between an artsy young lass and »

- Kate Erbland

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‘Into the Woods’ Review: Stephen Sondheim Survives His Trek to Big Screen

23 December 2014 8:00 AM, PST

In Stephen Sondheim’s career packed with beloved musicals, none compare to Into the Woods in terms of sheer popularity. It’s one of the most-performed productions on an amateur level and has been revived in different forms on and off Broadway countless times. It’s also dark and subversive, a merciless fairy tale satire that subverts the form through sly sexuality and plenty of horrific moments. This is not, in other words, a great candidate for a big screen adaptation under the Disney banner. There’s an uncomfortable, inherent tension between the corporation that popularized Cinderella and Rapunzel and material that undercuts the mythology. This caused great concern in the run-up to the film’s release, which theater buffs latching on to every possible deviation from the source as well as reported statements Sondheim made implying that the film had been toned down, which he later took back. I’m not an Into the Woods expert »

- Robert Levin

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‘Appointment With Danger,’ ‘Pride’ and ‘The Trip to Italy’ Are the Best New Blu-ray/DVD Releases of the Week

23 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Hurry Sundown Henry Warren (Michael Caine) is a landowner on the brink of making a big deal, but there are still two plots of land he needs to acquire. One belongs to a white relative’s family, and the other belongs to a black family whose lineage traces back to time spent as slaves to Mrs. Warren’s (Jane Fonda) relatives. Those times have passed, but 1940’s Georgia isn’t that much more enlightened, and as Warren’s efforts conflict with those of two families struggling to make the most of their homes and farmland racial tensions and civil expectations are tested. Director Otto Preminger‘s all-star look at Southern relations leans heavily towards melodrama at times, but it works well all the same. The cast — which also includes Faye Dunaway, John Phillip Law »

- Rob Hunter

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Junkfood Cinema: Silent But Deadly

23 December 2014 6:00 AM, PST

‘Twas a few nights before Christmas, and at Jfc, Brian and Cargill were all but cackling with glee. Having eschewed Black Christmas, a far better flick, they decided to chat about a killer St. Nick. They chose to weigh in, and happily summarize, the baffling Silent Night, Deadly Night film franchise. That’s right, we break down all that is nice and the overwhelming amount of naughty that comprises one of horror’s most bizarre franchises. If you don’t listen to this episode, well, you know on which list you’ll inevitably end up. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #36 Directly On This Week’s Show: Pre-Ramble [0:00 – 2:17] Silent But Deadly [2:18 – 52:29] Denouement [52:30 – 55:43] Films Discussed: [Click to buy, help us keep the lights on] Get In Touch With Us: Email Junkfood Cinema Follow the Show: End

"Junkfood Cinema: Silent But Deadly" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It »

- Brian Salisbury

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8 Examples of Hollywood’s Sleepy Time Tea Obsession

22 December 2014 12:00 PM, PST

Generally, film and television characters have the least discerning tastebuds of anyone, ever, when it comes to drinks and libations. They sidle up to a counter or bar and order the vaguest thing they can think of. Sure, it’s a narrative technique to avoid product placement, but it’s almost always nonsensically vague. They order a “beer,” but not even a lager, ale, or porter; they order a whisky, but not (at least) a scotch, rye, or bourbon. In this never-ending sea of vagueness rises Sleepy Time tea – an unstoppably specific force infiltrating the business in and out. Sleepy Time is the tea offered to Eric Stoltz when his café, Java, doesn’t have chamomile, and chamomile is the answer Seth Rogen gave our Scott Beggs years ago when asked about his favorite Sleepy Time tea flavor. It is what fictional characters sip while watching What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, and »

- Monika Bartyzel

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25 Movies to See If You Can’t Watch ‘The Interview’

22 December 2014 11:00 AM, PST

This Thursday, The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as a couple of guys assigned with assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was supposed to open in theaters nationwide. But as you’ve surely heard, Sony canceled the release last week when a 9/11-like attack was threatened against the movie’s premiere and any other cinemas that played it, and that led most major Us theater chains to drop the comedy. Whether you think this was a case of better safe than sorry or a studio cowardly negotiating with and bowing to terrorists, it does set a horrible precedent that may be detrimental to the future of provocative art and entertainment. It’s not the first movie for which a company gave in to pressures from protests, though, yet it’s also comparable to some big movies that spawned similar controversy without winding up censored. I invite you to check out one of the following titles »

- Christopher Campbell

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Would You Watch ‘Serial’ If It Was a Television Show?

22 December 2014 10:00 AM, PST

If you’re planning on spending any portion of the holiday season with the older generation of your family (or your significant other’s family, or a friend’s family, or whoever, you get it), you’ve probably already considered some of the current goings-on in pop culture you may have to explain and/or contextualize to a less plugged-in legion of relatives that are eager to be in the know. “What is this Sony business?” they might ask. “Is Seth Rogen really in league with the government?” someone might inquire. “What is a Nicki Minaj?” a person might pipe in. “Did you like that Angelina Jolie movie?” might come up, too. “And what is a podcast?” Even if you’re not a podcast person, 2014 was a good year to become one, if not just an easy one (and a neat, quick entry point into a pop cultural flashpoint). The allure of a podcast is simultaneously specific »

- Kate Erbland

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Are We in Danger of a ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Doomsday Weapon?

22 December 2014 10:00 AM, PST

It has been fifty years since the release of Stanley Kubrick’s dark look at the Cold War, 1964’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In that time, we have inched no closer to world peace, but at the very least we emerged from the Cold War relatively unscathed. Still, even with the Cold War a thing of the past, cinematically destined to remain the topic of 80s nostalgia, the world is not threat-free. In fact, some may say with the world getting smaller and smaller thanks to technology (primarily via the internet and social media), global threats are as real as ever. Kubrick’s film examines the theoretical use of a doomsday device, which threatens to wipe out all life on the planet. Today, with ongoing overseas military conflicts, brutal terror attacks, and increasing patriotic paranoia, this got me wondering: Is the world in danger of annihilation from a »

- Kevin Carr

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