Assassination of a High School President

At the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Yari Film Group premiered Brett Simon‘s Assassination of a High School President, a film noir mystery set inside the world of a John Hughes-style High School comedy. (half way between Rian Johnson’s Brick and Veronica Mars) It quickly emerged as one of the underdogs on the schedule to become one of the most buzzed about films at the festival (read some of the review quotes here).

Unfortunately, Yari Film Group was forced into involuntary bankruptcy, and the film has been sitting on the shelf ever since. This has presented a very serious problem for theatrical distribution, and because of the legalities of bankruptcy court, the timing of this economic downturn and a whole slew of other worst-case-scenarios, Assassination might be going direct-to-DVD. Hope isn’t lost quite yet, the bankruptcy court meets in late-July, and the fate of the Yari-owned films will be decided at that time. I hope someone comes to their senses and gives this movie a theatrical release of some kind.

A trailer for the film has finally been released online, but you should be warned… this is far from a good representation of the movie. Actually, it’s quite bad. But with all this legal mess going on, I’m surprised there is a trailer at all. It’s presented in full screen aspect ratio, the sound seems a bit off, and is cut with low royalty soundtrack music. Hopefully those of you who have been interested in this film will be able to see between all the unfortunate trailer production issues. The film is really so much better than this. Read the reviews, a lot of people really loved this film. This trailer cut is a butcher job. Watch the trailer embedded after the jump.

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Page 2

Here is a round up of stories that just didn’t make the /Film front page, or what we like to call…. Page 2!

Indiana Jones 4 Poster

A new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull poster has shown up on pipocacombo.

Patrick Swayze will be asked back to reprise the role of ‘Bodhi’ in the recently announced Point Break 2. [Moviehole]

Hellboy banners

Three new American character banners for Hellboy II: The Golden Party have appeared online. [Empire]

Katie Holmes will make her Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s play, All My Sons. [justjared]

LOST star Matthew Fox has been sworn to secrecy as he’s the only castmember who knows how the series will end. [CinemaBlend]


Shock has a first look at photos from Dario Argento‘s latest horror-thriller Giallo starring Adrien Brody and Emmanuelle Seigner.

Comic book legend Stan Lee enters anime and manga market with new superhero stories written for Japanese audience. [japantimes]

The Boston Globe
is reporting that film score composer John Williams is working on “soundtracks for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Jurassic Park IV,” and “Superman: Man of Steel” all scheduled for his touch.”

Transporter 3 billboard

JoBlo has a photo of the Transporter 3 billboard at Cannes.

Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Jean Smart and M. Emmet Walsh have joined Michael Cera in “Youth in Revolt,” the Miguel Arteta-directed comedy for Dimension Films. [Variety] boasts the first shots of the upcoming mobile edition of the WALL-E video game.

Rejects counts down the Ten Most Memorable Indiana Jones Moments.

Danny Dyer and Mischa Barton are set to star in a deranged spin on Alice in Wonderland entitled Malice in Wonderland. [shock]

Phoenix Pictures has picked up the movie rights to John Grisham‘s best-selling novel Playing for Pizza, about a washed-up NFL quarterback who finds a new perspective on life and a love for all things Italian when his agent lands him a deal to play with a semi-professional team in Parma, Italy. [THR]

Watch 5 minutes of footage from the Ghostbusters video game on Kotaku.

Star Trek Truck

Someone is selling the truck from Star Trek IV for $5,595. [trekmovie]

A reader sent over a NSFW photoshop of the WALL-E poster. Click here to see it.

Cinematical takes a look back at the Foreign movie posters of Indiana Jones.

The Weinstein Company will produce Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in a big-budget adaptation directed by Hollywood star Laurence Fishburne. [reuters]

Hellboy 2 Dog

Guillermo del Toro was forced to drop a three-headed dog from Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The photo above shows the concept. [io9]

YouTube has a a new behind the scenes promo for Heroes: Season 3.

Indiana Jones is now on Twitter.


Assassination of a High School President is a murder mystery set in a high school, without the murder. Assassination of a High School President will likely be compared to Brick in every review you read, and every conversation you have about te flick. Yet, Assassination is not a copy of Brick, in fact, it was written before Brick. Imagine if John Hughes had made Chinatown set in a High School. So where Brick was a hardcore film noir story set in the world of high school students, Assassination is a high school movie with a noir mystery storyline.

Brett Simon’s debut feature is set in an intricate, hilarious, twisted world set inside St. Donovan’s private school. Not quite the 90’s, 80’s or 70’s, Assassination is set in an alternative universe where cellphones don’t exist, students type on Apple IIe’s, yet references to the Iraq war and Chuck Palahniuk. Reece Daniel Thompson is Bobby Funke, a sophomore reporter for the St. Donovan’s school newspaper. When the SAT tests go missing from the High School Principal’s safe, Funke goes all Woodward and Bernstein, tracking his own private watergate, following the mystery twist after twist. Assassination‘s lightning quick dialogue is nothing short of brilliant. Even Mischa Barton couldn’t ruin this movie, as much as she tried with her O.C.-level acting skills (wait, should the wording still be “skills” when I’m obviously being derogatory?)

The world of this story is so masterfully created. From the production design, to the characters, Assassination feels like a living breathing parallel universe where the characters talk in voice over. While each character has a very specific story purpose, you feel like each character has an extensive back-history, comparable to the characters in the universe of The Simpsons or Groundhog Day. Bruce Willis turn as the crazy High School principal is also worth noting.

If there is one fault, and it is a minor one, it involves the film’s conclusion. Like most mystery stories, the resulting explanation at the end of the story never lives up to the intense build-up. Assassination is no different in that respect. But don’t get me wrong, you will not for a second feel cheated. You will leave the theater after seeing this film knowing you underpaid for your ticket.

Brett Simon has traveled the festival circuit with his short films, including Sundance, where his short film The Sailor’s Girl premiered in 2005. He’s a successful commercial and music video director (which includes the award winning “Somebody Told Me” for The Killers). Unrelated but noteworthy, Screenwriters Tim Calpin and Kevin Jakubowski are former production assistants on South Park.

Assassination is one of the most interesting films I’ve seen in the last couple years.

/Film Rating: 9 out of 10

Finding t.A.T.u. Movie Tailer

Finding TatuWhen I heard they were making a film based on the Lesbian-teased Russian pop duet t.A.T.u., I knew that it would be a disaster. Mischa Barton (The O.C.) and Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog) star in Finding t.A.T.u., which is set against a background of music, internet chatrooms, and hedonistic Moscow nightlife.

The story follows friendless American teenager Janie Sawyer who is trying to escape her lonely life in Moscow through her love of music. Janie meets Lana Starkova on a fansite for the pop-band t.A.T.u. Trapped in a provincial Russian town, Lana is desperate to flee her mundane life and the two girls develop an instant connection. Their trip to a t.A.T.u. concert becomes the catalyst for a series of adventures that will not only test their newfound friendship, but also their ideals and aspirations.

So if that doesn’t sound horrible enough, check out this new trailer that has popped up on YouTube, after the jump. I’m not sure the legitimacy of the footage, but it looks pretty bad (almost skinamax bad) and is good for a laugh or two (at not with).
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