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The Playlist

Venice Review: ‘Far From Men’ Starring Viggo Mortensen And Reda Kateb

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • September 1, 2014 9:11 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Far From Men, Viggo Mortensen
Taking the rhythms of the Western to different countries, sometimes planets, time periods or political situations is hardly new, but done well it never gets old. And the French-language “Far From Men” aka “Loin des Hommes,” from writer/director David Oelhoffen, which transposes classic Western archetypes to the Algerian Civil War is a terrific reminder of that.

Watch: First Clip From David Gordon Green's 'Manglehorn' Starring Al Pacino

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 31, 2014 1:28 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Manglehorn
Al Pacino hit the Venice Film Festival with two new movies, swinging and hitting with one, while whiffing on the other. Barry Levinson's "The Humbling" fills out the latter category (read our review), while David Gordon Green's latest "Manglehorn" is the hit, with the film showing us a whole other side to Pacino than we're used to these days. And with this first clip, you get a really nice taste of the actor in a much more dialled down mode.

Watch: First 3 Clips From HBO's 'Olive Kitteridge' With Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins & Bill Murray

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 31, 2014 1:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Olivia Kitteridge
Prestige drama at film festivals is no longer just the domain of movies. Television is now becoming a regular part of fest programming (Jane Campion's "Top Of The Lake" at Sundance and Bruno Dumont's "P'tit Quinquin" at Cannes Directors' Fortnight are recent examples) and this week at Venice, HBO's "Olive Kitteridge" will get a glitzy premiere. And you can now catch a glimpse of the forthcoming miniseries with three new clips.

Box Office: 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Takes Long Weekend Top Spot

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 31, 2014 12:40 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Guardians of the Galaxy
Labor Day tends to be a slow one on the box office calendar, and accordingly, none of the new contenders managed to break through to the top spot this weekend. Everyone is doing something other than going to the movies, but for those that they did, they chose one of the biggest movies of the year.

Watch: Trailer For Roy Andersson's Trilogy Finale 'A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 31, 2014 11:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
While the word "trilogy" usually conjures thoughts of tentpoles and blockbusters, it's a term that's not unfamiliar to the arthouse world. Richard Linklater closed off his 'Before' series last year and now a beloved international cinema filmmaker is getting ready to finish the book on his own series. Roy Andersson will be premiering "A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence" at the Venice Film Festival, and the first trailer is here to provide a peek at the director's always unique perspective.

Venice Review: Fatih Akin’s ‘The Cut’ Starring Tahar Rahim

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • August 31, 2014 8:32 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The Cut, Fatih Akin
When Turkish-German auteur Fatih Akin pulled “The Cut” from the Cannes slate citing “personal reasons,” the rumor mill went to work overtime. Certainly, Cannes would have seemed like the natural home for the filmmaker’s next opus, so if, as was suggested, he had not been guaranteed the competition slot that his profile surely demanded, what could the reason be? Politics? Pique? Some internecine beef we weren’t aware of? Within all that gossip, however, one possible explanation never really entered the mix: that the film would not be very good. Akin’s track record alone, including such terrific, joltingly energetic, critically lauded and awarded titles as “Head-on” and “The Edge of Heaven” (the first two films in a thematic trilogy that “The Cut” is mooted to complete) seemed to put that beyond the realm of possibility. And in truth, it’s not not very good. It’s close to a disaster.

Telluride Review: Jean-Marc Vallée’s ‘Wild’ Starring Reese Witherspoon

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 30, 2014 12:51 PM
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  • 21 Comments
Wild Reese Witherspoon
In the summer of 1995, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed decided to walk the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself without having ever having attempted a serious hike in her life. Following the death of her mother and after years of dissolute self-destructive behavior, Strayed found herself divorced, alone, lost and on a frayed edge of personal despair. Desperately trying to find her humanity and reclaim an her ideal self, she impulsively set out, ill-equipped and inexperienced, to find herself on an unpredictable and grueling odyssey from the Mojave desert through California to Oregon over the course of over 150 days.

Telluride Review: 'The Imitation Game' Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley And More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 30, 2014 11:58 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Imitation Game
In 1941, brilliant Cambridge mathematician Alan Turing was hired by the British military to break an infamous and seemingly unbreakable Nazi code called Enigma. Leading a group of misfit cryptanalysts, logicians and wunderkind minds, Turing directed the operation of code breakers to crack Enigma and win the war. But for Turing, this victory came at a terrible expense.

Telluride Review: Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' Starring Gael Garcia Bernal

  • By Chris Willman
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  • August 30, 2014 11:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Rosewater
The category of Iranian prison movies with feel-good endings is a small subgenre, and one that "Rosewater" is likely to have all to itself for the near future. With his feature film writing and directing debut, "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart clearly wanted to make a people-have-the-power message picture that would resonate at least as much with American youths as longtime students of political repression in the Middle East. That transparent desire to make the material as accessible as possible to U.S. moviegoers — starting with the old-fashioned notion of having all the Iranians speaking to each other exclusively in English — results in a sometimes overly slick take on potentially tough subject matter. For better or worse, torture-themed films don’t get too much easier to take than this one.

Venice Review: David Gordon Green's 'Manglehorn' Starring Al Pacino, Harmony Korine, Chris Messina And Holly Hunter

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • August 30, 2014 8:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Manglehorn
A bees nest beneath a mailbox. A boat bedecked in copies of a photograph. A cat who’s swallowed a key. A mime, a buffet, an earthquake, a multi-vehicle car accident inexplicably strewn with smashed watermelons. David Gordon Green’s slow, indulged but fathomless “Manglehorn” contains all of these motifs and more, sometimes playing out in double exposure, sometimes woozy slow motion, often counterpointed by Al Pacino’s husky gravelly narration. It should all be a terrible mess, and certainly it’s a less accessible film than the genre-tinged “Joe” or the sweetly straightforward “Prince Avalanche.” But it’s also fascinating, to those of us willing to let its meditative currents take us, a mosaic of moods, mysteries, magic and melancholy. And all anchored by a quietly assured central performance that may be among the most atypical of Pacino’s career, but is also one of his best.

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