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Grains of Sand: The Meditative Beauty of SAMSARA

Ronald Fricke's "Samsara" is a trance movie. Its title is a Buddhist term that roughly translates as, "The cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound." And in a roundabout way, the movie does tell that story.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • August 28, 2012 10:18 AM
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  • 2 Comments

REMEMBERING ANDREW SARRIS, 1928-2012

This is a remembrance of film critic Andrew Sarris (1928-2012).
  • By Press Play Contributors and Staff
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  • June 21, 2012 9:37 AM
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  • 8 Comments

TRAILER WATCH - Marvel's THE AVENGERS: Just Another Superhero Movie?

Matt Zoller Seitz: Have you heard there's a new Avengers trailer? All those great Marvel superheroes are in one trailer, just like in the comics! And Iron Man is there, and Thor, and .... sorry, I just can't get excited about this. As you might have heard, I'm sick unto death of superhero movies. Sick, sick, sick. I can't remember the last time I saw a big budget version that really departed from formula, in terms of either subject matter or tone -- Superman Returns is one, and that came out five years ago and flopped; anybody who wants to watch a quixotic defense of it can click here.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz and Simon Abrams
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  • March 6, 2012 11:22 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Putting pen to paper, or the virtues of analog writing

I'm going to write reviews in pen for a while and see what happens
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 14, 2012 3:24 PM
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  • 1 Comment

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: Should HOMELAND have quit while it was ahead?

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck might not seem to belong in a review of a searing cable drama about terrorism, but bear with me, OK? In the climax of Show Biz Bugs (1957), in which Bugs and Daffy compete for the right to claim top billing in a show, Daffy decides he’s had enough of being bested by the rabbit and hauls out his trump card, self-immolation. “I must warn those with weak constitutions to leave the theater for this performance,” the duck says, then swallows gasoline, nitro glycerine, gunpowder, uranium and a lit match, and explodes. “That’s terrific, Daffy!” Bugs exclaims from the wings, over thunderous applause. “They loved it! They want more!” “I know, I know,” says Daffy’s ghost, floating toward the rafters. “But I can only do it once!”
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • December 19, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment

CHAPTER ART: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG debuted Dec. 15

It's almost here! Press Play's first video essay series in direct partnership with IndieWire: "Magic and Light: The Films of Steven Spielberg." On Dec. 15, 2011 on this blog, this series will examine facets of Spielberg's movie career, including his stylistic evolution as a director, his depiction of violence, his interest in communication and language, his portrayal of authority and evil, and the importance of father figures -- both present and absent -- throughout his work.
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • December 14, 2011 5:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

The Art of MAGIC & LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG

MAGIC & LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG premieres Dec. 15 at Press Play. Check out these eye-popping title cards. As they used to say of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS trading cards back in the '70s, collect them all!
  • By Boke Yuzgen
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  • December 13, 2011 6:52 PM
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  • 0 Comments

SLIDE SHOW: Martin Scorsese’s greatest movies

This has been quite a year for 60-something American filmmakers. Terrence Malick, who started directing in 1973, created the year’s most divisive conversation piece with “The Tree of Life.” Woody Allen, who started directing in 1966, had his biggest financial success with “Midnight in Paris.” Steven Spielberg, who directed his first feature-length movie 40 years ago, has two blockbusters coming out this month, “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse.” And Martin Scorsese, who made his directorial debut in 1966, has had another success with “Hugo,” a film history-conscious 3-D art film for kids that finished second to “The Muppets” at the box office during its opening weekend and was just named film of the year by the National Board of Review. It’s as good a time as any for a Best of Scorsese list — as if I really need an excuse!
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • December 2, 2011 10:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: When great TV shows disappoint

As regular readers know, I sometimes fall head-over-heels in love with promising new shows, and when they deliver a problematic or outright bad episode, it’s disillusioning. I tell myself it’s the nature of the beast — that it’s hard to make just one great half-hour or hour-long episode, let alone 10 or 12 or 26 in a row. The law of averages has to catch up eventually. But that doesn’t change the fact that a show that once seemed to have excellent judgment suddenly made what felt like out-of-character or flat-out stupid choices. A botch-job episode can make you wonder if you were right to like the show in the first place. At its most misjudged and tone-deaf, a bad episode of an otherwise terrific series can emphasize flaws you were previously inclined to overlook. It can even make you second-guess the things you praised in the past.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • November 30, 2011 1:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments

RECAP: The man’s world of BOARDWALK EMPIRE

On one hand, yes, oh my God, oh the humanity, poor Angela Darmody (Aleksa Palladino), rest her soul; what a ghastly exit. Philadelphia gangster/butcher Manny Horvitz (William Forsythe) avenged a botched assassination attempt by Angela’s husband, Jimmy (Michael Pitt), by invading the Darmodys’ seaside house and putting Angela and her girlfriend down like livestock. It was obscenely dark, and I mean that as a compliment. Violence that’s supposed to mean something — to feel “real” and hurt the spectator — can’t be clean, abstract or comic bookish. It needs to have that ’70s movie nastiness, and this killing definitely had it. It reminded me of the murder spree that ended Boys Don’t Cry, with the bodies on the floor and the bloodstains on the wall. Horrifying.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • November 28, 2011 1:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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