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OSCARS REVISITED, 1981: CHARIOTS OF FIRE

As best-picture Oscar winners go, "Chariots of Fire" is both typical of the kind of Anglophile, prestige film the Academy favors and a rare, accurate biopic with an above-average script (indeed, it won the best screenplay Oscar as well). This inspirational 1981 film tells the true story of the track team Britain sent to the Paris Olympics in 1924. Tellingly, it concentrates on two runners who stand apart from the upper-crust Cambridge men who, for the filmʼs purposes, comprise a major chunk of the team. The first is Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a hard-driving law student at Cambridge who uses running, specifically, winning races, as a cudgel against anti-Semitism. The second is Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), the son of a Scottish missionary who intends to follow in his fatherʼs footsteps, but has earned the nickname “The Flying Scotsman” for his prowess as a rugby player and sprinter.
  • By Marilyn Ferdinand
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  • February 3, 2012 6:12 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: The Double Life of James and Juliette: Mysteries and Perceptions in Kiarostami's CERTIFIED COPY

The newest film from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, "Certified Copy," is a complete and total enigma. Many films pose mysteries at their centers, including detective stories, thrillers with multiple twists, and now often art films that pose ambiguous endings. But "Certified Copy" emerges as something of a different order, because it challenges the spectator to explore the mystery yet never come to any particular solution. But by examining the clues Kiarostami gives us, we, the audience, can understand the philosophical ideas of what our answers may suggest.
  • By Peter Labuza
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  • February 3, 2012 6:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO: BREAKING BAD P.O.V. Compilation

YouTube user Kogonada's "Breaking Bad" montage remixes an array of POV shots from the series, specifically from the perspective of inanimate objects. Experience what it is to be a frying pan, shovel or clipboard within the world of Walter White.
  • By PressPlayVideoBlog
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  • February 2, 2012 11:09 PM
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  • 0 Comments

OSCARS DEATH RACE: REAL STEEL

"Real Steel" is one of those trailers that makes you turn to your movie-going companion and say, "You know, I really like [above-the-title star who's talented, attractive, and doesn't take himself too seriously but apparently just hit some kind of alimony balloon payment]. He's a nice man. I want him to make lots of money. Are you telling me there's no better way for him to do that than to star in the robot-boxing version of that infernal arm-wrestling Stallone movie from the '80s?"
  • By Sarah D. Bunting
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  • February 2, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments

FESTIVAL VIDEO: Rotterdam Sunset Chat with IndieWire Press Play + The House Next Door + Cine Qua Non

The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has been called a cinephile’s festival. This year’s edition (January 25-February 5) is living proof. Indiewire/Press Play editor-in-chief Kevin Lee talks with fellow critics Aaron Cutler (The House Next Door/Cine Qua Non) and Michal Oleszczyk (The House Next Door) about what films to see, old and new, in and out of competition. Recorded February 1, posted February 3. (pictured above: Awakening of the Beast, from the IFFR series "The Mouth of Garbage")
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 2, 2012 8:03 AM
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  • 2 Comments

OSCARS REVISITED, 1981: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

For years after the release of his box-office breakthrough "Jaws," Steven Spielberg fantasized about directing a James Bond picture. He finally got his chance, sort of, with "Raiders of the Lost Ark," his first team-up with his old film school classmate and fellow "movie brat" George Lucas.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • February 2, 2012 7:47 AM
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  • 3 Comments

OSCARS REVISITED, 1981: ON GOLDEN POND

Of the five films nominated for Best Picture of 1981, "On Golden Pond" is greeted with the most derision – dismissed as the Academy falling for cheap sentiment as an excuse to honor their own.
  • By Aaron Aradillas
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  • February 1, 2012 7:46 AM
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  • 2 Comments

OSCARS 2012: PRESS PLAY contributors argue for their favorites

After last week’s announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees, a handful of Press Play contributors gathered together via email to discuss the highs and lows in some of the major award categories. Below are some of the highlights of the conversation, and as always, we encourage you to keep the discussion going.
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • February 1, 2012 7:27 AM
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  • 21 Comments

OSCARS DEATH RACE: UNDEFEATED

It's not generally a compliment to say that a film reminds you of other films, or has the DNA of other films; the phrases "a poor man's" or "but with less" seem inevitable. To call a documentary "well made" isn't the highest of praise, either, suggesting as it does the absence of anything extraordinary. "Every shot in focus -- a triumph of competence!"
  • By Sarah D. Bunting
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  • February 1, 2012 7:19 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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