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The Playlist

Venice '11 Review: 'The Exchange' An Odd, Half-Interesting Follow Up To 'The Band's Visit'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 7, 2011 5:21 AM
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"The Band's Visit" was something of a runaway success when it started doing the rounds in 2007. The feature debut of Israeli director Eran Kolirin, it told the story of an Egyptian police orchestra who become stranded in an Israeli desert town. Warm and witty, it became the best-reviewed foreign film of 2008, and was controversially denied the chance to be Israel's Oscar entry because of the rule that no more than 50% of films' dialogue can be in English. It's taken Kolirin a little time to follow it up, but that sophomore film has arrived, premiering today in Venice, and it's a definite about-turn from its predecessor.

Lars Von Trier Can't Stop Talking About Nazis; Isn't Sure 'The Five Obstructions' Will Happen

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2011 4:55 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Before Lars Von Trier left Cannes this spring, banned from ever attending again due to his unfortunate comments during the "Melancholia" press conference, the director made waves for a much more positive reason. It was announced that he was teaming with Martin Scorsese to do another version of "The Five Obstructions" with reports indicating it would shoot in early 2012.

Venice '11 Review: Surprise Film 'People Mountain People Sea' Is A Hard, Unsatisfying Journey

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 7, 2011 4:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The surprise film at a festival always has a tricky time living up to the sky-high expectations. Everyone brings in their own hopes and dreams, however unrealistic they may be, and the finished product has to be pretty special not to underwhelm -- witness the near-riotous reaction at the London Film Festival a couple of years ago when the surprise turned out to be not "Where The Wild Things Are," as widely-rumored, but instead Michael Moore's "Sicko." The reaction is slightly different at Venice, thanks to a reputation that the selectors hold back the most miserable, grueling film for the secret slot, so much so that most audience members are delighted if the film turns out to be anything other than footage of a close family member being slowly murdered.

Oliver Stone Teaming With Son, Sean, For Mysterious Iran-Set Documentary

  • By Simon Dang
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  • September 7, 2011 3:44 AM
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  • 4 Comments
A couple of surprises here. First off, apparently Oliver Stone's son Sean decided way back in the spring of 2010 to follow in his father's footsteps, and has been working on a feature film titled "SecretStone" about a group of filmmakers working inside a haunted psychiatric hospital who quickly discover they are not alone. Generic, we know, but cast your famous father in the film and you'll have us paying attention. It's some kind of meta-horror, found footage, faux-doc thing and STYD have dug up the trailer for the film (now called "Graystone") which will be looking for distribution at the American Film Market in November. It looks pretty terrible, proving that talent isn't necessarily genetic.

Watch: U.K. Trailer For Psychological Virus Thriller 'Retreat' Starring Cillian Murphy & Jamie Bell

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2011 3:23 AM
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  • 3 Comments
For his debut feature film, the psychological virus thriller "Retreat," writer/director Carl Tibbetts gets a pretty solid dream team cast in Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell. And while the new U.K. trailer unveiled by Empire might look promising, unfortunately the story is more intent on throwing twists at the audience rather than settling down and actually developing its intriguing premise.
More: Films, Retreat

Anthony Hopkins To Play Psychic Doctor In 'Solace'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 7, 2011 3:05 AM
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Looks like yet another script is going to have the honor of being covered with "NAR" notes. Anthony Hopkins has signed on to star in "Solace," a long-in-development script that would feature the Academy Award winner as a psychic ex-doctor who now works for the FBI. However, he soon meets his match when he encounters a serial killer who also possesses an uncanny sense of clairvoyance.

'Contagion' Writer Scott Z. Burns' Next Directorial Effort Is 'The Side Effects'

  • By The Playlist
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  • September 7, 2011 2:42 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Confirms George Clooney Backed Out Of Soderbergh's 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Because Of A Bad BackWhile perhaps not as well known and respected as names like Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Diablo Cody or Charlie Kaufman, if his recent momentum continues, writer Scott Z. Burns will soon find himself among Hollywood's upper echelon of top-shelf and well-paid screenwriters (if he isn't there already). In theaters this weekend is Steven Soderbergh's pandemic thriller "Contagion," starring Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and more, one of many collaborations between Burns and the Academy Award-winning director. Known for a screenplay to a little film called "The Bourne Ultimatum," Burns also did work on "Ocean's 12," wrote "The Informant," and is an Oscar winner for producing the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

New Clips From TIFF-Bound Duo Of Derick Martini's 'Hick' & Marc Forster's 'Machine Gun Preacher'

  • By Simon Dang
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  • September 7, 2011 2:22 AM
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  • 2 Comments
On the eve of the Toronto International Film Festival, clips have now been unveiled for two of the premiering films hoping to make an impact: Derick Martini's adaptation of Andrea Portes’ coming-of-age novel "Hick" and Marc Forster's take on the real-life story of a criminal-turned-do-gooder "Machine Gun Preacher."

Exclusive: First Footage & New Pics From TIFF Entry 'Americano' Starring Salma Hayek & Mathieu Demy

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2011 2:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Growing up, Mathieu Demy was certainly no stranger to the film world. The actor is the son of legendary filmmakers Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy, and his own foray in front of the camera has found him in such features as “God is Great, But I’m Not,” “Aram” and “The Girl On The Train.” However, Demy is ready to follow in the footsteps of his parents and is headed to TIFF this week to show off his directorial debut, "Americano." This past spring we unveiled the first look at the project, and with its world premiere now looming, we've got some more images and two clips to give you a taste of what's to come.

Debra Granik To Helm Documentary On U.S. War Veterans Inspired By 'Winter's Bone' Supporting Actor

  • By Simon Dang
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  • September 7, 2011 1:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments
After the acclaim of her sophomore feature film "Winter's Bone," writing a treatment with an eye on the director's chair for a Pippi Longstocking movie isn't exactly what we had envisioned for Debra Granik.

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