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The Playlist

John Sayles Talks The Politics Of 'Amigo' & Working With A Filipino Cast

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • August 17, 2011 11:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
John Sayles' latest feature, "Amigo," is an intriguing moral fable, marrying historical narrative with a fictionalized tale that takes us on an emotional journey with those on both sides of a conflict. The background is the Philippine–American War of the early 20th century, a well-documented but not widely known (it certainly was skimmed over in our history classes) attempt to "win hearts and minds" of Filipinos. The "amigo" of the title refers to Rafael (Joel Torre), a cabeza (head) of a barrio whose initially envious position becomes his downfall when the Americans unceremoniously occupy the village and attempt to root out guerilla fighters who have taken refuge in the adjacent wilderness. Rafael's brother is the leader of the local insurrection and so the village head finds himself in the ultimate predicament, pacifying the trigger-happy Americans while half-heartedly supporting his brother's revolutionary tactics. "Amigo" succeeds largely because it refuses to simplify the situation or spell out the obvious comparisons a viewer could make to U.S. global politics today. It's also well-acted, handsomely shot with rich scenery and a novelistic approach to character development. In short, it's another fine entry in Sayles' already impressive body of work and should more than please fans of the auteur.

Craig Gillespie Says He Was Attracted To The "Brutal" Vampire Mythology Of ‘Fright Night’

  • By Jeff Otto
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  • August 17, 2011 11:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Despite his art house pedigree, “Lars and the Real Girl” director Craig Gillespie -- who will tackle "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" next -- is diving into the genre world head first. This week he attempts to satiate the horror crowd with a remake of ‘80s camp classic “Fright Night” that he hopes will bring back the “ruthless vampire” from the depths of lovey-dovey romanticism like “Twilight.” Starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Imogen Poots, the film keeps the basic premise but adds a darker edge to the proceedings while relocating the story to Las Vegas. Add in some 3D and you have a unique, updated genre tale that aims to take a real bite out of some familiar cinematic territory.

Review: 'The Last Circus' Is A Three-Ring Extravaganza Of Excess

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 17, 2011 10:33 AM
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The prologue for Alex de la Iglesia's new film, "The Last Circus," which premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival but is just now making its debut on American shores, is a kicky, grindhouse shock about a traveling circus interrupted by rebels who recruit the performers to participate in the burgeoning Spanish Civil War. The show's lead clown (Santiago Segura) is handed a machete and forced to stay in his whimsical, gender-bending costume, since the rebel leader says it will scare the shit out of the enemy. And, for whole minutes, we watch as the clown grittily slices and dices members of Franco's fascist army. After the "happy clown" has been captured and interred in a mine, we see him have a conversation with his young son. His father tells him to keep up the clown tradition of his family, but instead of a happy clown, he'll be a sad clown. Then, in a tragic/comic moment, his father gets trampled to death by a horse and the son ends up maiming a colonel.
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Jim Sturgess Says The Book Was All He Needed To Get Prepared For 'One Day'

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • August 17, 2011 9:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In “One Day,” Jim Sturgess’ Dexter is kind of an asshole, though certainly the kind of asshole that some women are irresistibly and illogically drawn to. He says and does things to Anne Hathaway’s Emma that would make him irredeemable if played by a less charming actor, but because it’s Sturgess who’s doing the heartbreaking, we’re content to watch--and would likely volunteer to be the victim as well. Based on David Nicholls’ book (and the author’s screenplay), the Lone Scherfig film follows the pair dipping into each others' lives for one day a year across three decades. They perform a dance where they’re alternately joining together and pushing each other away as their lives and selves change from their twenties through their forties.

Jennifer Lawrence To Sing "Rue's Lullaby" On 'The Hunger Games' Soundtrack

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 17, 2011 9:26 AM
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  • 7 Comments
"The Hunger Games" will be a test of sorts for Jennifer Lawrence. Expectations are running high for the franchise film -- which already has a sequel dated for November 22, 2013 -- and will also be the the first time the young actress is toplining a tentpole. The success of the brewing series will largely depend on if audiences outside the core fanbase will want to go along Katniss' adventures, and that largely rests on Lawrence's shoulders. So as if that pressure wasn't enough, now she's going to show off her singing voice too.

Michael Gracey To Direct Hugh Jackman Musical 'The Greatest Showman On Earth'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 17, 2011 8:51 AM
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  • 1 Comment
We just got some whiplash turning around to look in the archives, but it looks like a long-ago mooted Hugh Jackman musical -- that we figured was left buried in the sands of time -- is still very much alive.

Jonah Hill Going On A 'Neighborhood Watch'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 17, 2011 8:12 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Updated: Reps for Jonah Hill confirm his involvement in this film.

Bill Paxton Joins Kevin Costner In Kevin Reynolds-Directed 'Hatfield & McCoys'

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • August 17, 2011 7:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Remember back in 2010, we told you that "Crazy Heart" director Scott Cooper was looking to take on a classic story of American folklore known as "The Hatfields and The McCoys"? Brad Pitt was set to produce and star alongside Robert Duvall, and apparently Walker was bringing his "Crazy Heart" composer T-Bone Burnett along for the ride. Well, it didn't happen, but it looks like Kevin Reynolds, the director of the infamous "Waterworld," may beat them to the punch according to Deadline. Bill Paxton has been cast as Randall McCoy, along with the previously announced Kevin Costner as the rival “Devil” Anse Hatfield. This version of the historic rivalry of the Hatfield and McCoy families that almost brought about another Civil War is set to be a television miniseries on the History Channel instead of a sprawling film.

Latest 'Lone Ranger' Draft Ditches Supernatural Elements, But Set Pieces Will Need To Be Scaled Back

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 17, 2011 6:40 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Not long after the shocking announcement earlier this week that "The Lone Ranger" with Johnny Depp was being killed off by Disney, word circulated that part of the reason the western was budgeted at a staggering $250 million was due to the presence of supernatural creatures (not as reported, werewolves). The 2009 draft we read by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio featured supernatural wolves, a legion of coyotes and the Wendigo, a cannibalistic Native American spirit capable of possessing humans. However, in a update on the ongoing saga of the film THR reveals that according to their sources, those elements have been scrapped in the latest versions of the screenplay (the most recent rewrites were by Justin Haythe), but it's still not enough to bring the price tag down.

Keira Knightley & Lily Collins Eyed For 'Romeo & Juliet' Re-Imagining 'Rosaline'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 17, 2011 5:53 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Ah yes, "re-imagining." The hot new buzz word around Hollywood offices and if you're a lowly intern and you can attach the word "re-imagine" to some pitch that you have, you could find yourself up in an office instead of a mail room. So what's next to get a contemporary coat of paint? Why Shakespeare, of course.

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