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The Playlist

Review: Jack O'Connell Gives A Breakthrough Performance In Prison Film Classic 'Starred Up'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • August 26, 2014 6:05 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Starred Up
It was a glorious, freezing, snowy Monday evening at the Göteborg International Film Festival that yielded the first truly great film of 2014. “Starred Up” (which, fine, actually premiered at Telluride last year) is an instant classic of the prison movie genre, making a bona fide breakthrough star of its lead Jack O’Connell (best known for British TV series “Skins”), while propelling director David Mackenzie’s previously solid career (which included highlights “Hallam Foe” and “Young Adam”) straight to "boss" level in one fell swoop. And in case anyone forgets, the film confirms that however often you cast Ben Mendelsohn as a violent, unpredictable scumbag, he’ll find a way to amaze/terrify you every time. The superlative-averse might want to stop reading now, because there will be many coming up in the next several paragraphs.

Watch: First U.S. Trailer For Acclaimed Prison Drama 'Starred Up' Led By Jack O'Connell

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 9, 2014 1:13 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Starred Up
If you've had your ear to the ground, you've likely heard the faint rumbling of buzz behind "Starred Up." The prison drama steadily made its way through the festival circuit last year and into 2014, picking up acclaim wherever it stopped, including from our own team, with "Starred Up" making our 21 Best Films We've Already Seen list for the year. And now it's finally coming to theatres and the first U.S. trailer is here.

The Cannes Field Manual: What To Expect From Ryan Gosling’s Directorial Debut ‘Lost River’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 21, 2014 12:18 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Lost River, Playlist comp
By now in the Five Stages of Cannes Reaction, (1. Reaction 2. Backlash 3. Backlash to the backlash 4. Consensus 5. Moving On To Next Shiny Thing) we’re approaching the end of phase 4 with Ryan Gosling’s Un Certain Regard entry “Lost River.” It is a divisive film, though not as polarizing in the spectrum of opinions it has raised as last year’s Ryan Gosling-starrer “Only God Forgives” which was either the greatest masterpiece known to man or the worst pile of trash ever projected on a screen, depending on who you spoke to. No, there are precious few viewers so far who’re going out on a limb to declare the film any actual good, but there are several shades of vehemence on the more negative end of the spectrum. This writer’s is probably a little sourer on it than Oli, who reviewed it, but that said, we’re in broad agreement on the fundamentals: it’s visually rich but thematically impoverished, and so derivative that it sometimes feels more like a supercut than a movie.

Cannes Review: Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Starring Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan & Matt Smith

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 20, 2014 12:08 PM
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  • 26 Comments
Lost River
There's no bigger way for a movie star to paint a giant target on their back than by stepping behind the camera. More often than not, an actor making their directorial debut gets to do more or less whatever they want, and without anyone telling them no, the results can be indulgent and self-serving—there are more films like Mark Ruffalo's "Sympathy For Delicious" than Charles Laughton's "Night Of The Hunter." And far be it from Ryan Gosling to upset that particular narrative.

First Look: New Films Starring Ryan Reynolds, Nicholas Hoult, Brit Marling, Asa Butterfield, Kit Harington & More

  • By Edward Davis
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  • May 16, 2014 2:16 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Missisipi Grind
The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing, and that means lots of deals, attachments, signings, news and yes, first looks. And there’s a bunch.

New Pics From Ryan Gosling's Cannes Contender 'Lost River'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 8, 2014 12:06 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Lost River
Yeah, we know. It's mostly been the Robert Pattinson show as we're heading into the Cannes Film Festival, but today brings a look at another film that already has folks very excited: Ryan Gosling's "Lost River." And a batch of new images have arrived for the movie that will be landing in the Un Certain Regard category on the Croisette.

Interview: Director David Mackenzie On The Cast And The Process Behind 'Starred Up' Plus Upcoming Projects

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 4, 2014 4:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments
David Mackenzie, Starred Up
One of the highlights of the Göteborg International Film Festival, and indeed one of the highlights of our year so far, was catching up with David Mackenzie’s “Starred Up," which, if you missed our review first time out, you can read all about here. The unflinching but brutally human prison drama is based on a script by first-timer Jonathan Asser, a writer and poet by whose experiences inspired the film and the character of Oliver, the posh but dedicated volunteer inmate counselor.

Göteborg Review: 'Starred Up' Is An Instant Classic Of The Prison Movie Genre

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • January 28, 2014 12:02 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Starred Up
What a glorious, freezing, snowy Swedish Monday at the Göteborg International Film Festival it was, because, for a non-Sundance attendee like me, it yielded the first truly great film of 2014. “Starred Up” (which, OK fine, actually premiered at Telluride last year) is an instant classic of the prison movie genre, that makes a bona fide breakthrough star of its lead Jack O’Connell (best known for British TV series “Skins”), while propelling director David Mackenzie’s previously solid career (which included highlights “Hallam Foe” and “Young Adam”) straight to Boss level in one fell swoop.

'Metro Manila' Wins Best Film British Independent Film Awards; Paul Greengrass, James McAvoy & More Honored

Another day and more trophies handed out as 2013 tumbles toward a close. Over the weekend, the British Independent Film Awards provided some dinner and statues to a wide range of movies, and given their mandate, it shines a light on a different batch of movies than the ones that are dominating critics charts stateside. Read More »

Watch: Darker, Angrier Unused Alternate Trailer For 'Killing Them Softly'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 19, 2013 11:33 AM
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  • 7 Comments
It seems that no matter how hard they try, Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt can't get anyone to see their films. Their first collaboration, 2007's "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford," suffered through a difficult editing process only to be indifferently released by Warner Bros. (Thankfully, it has attained cult status since, and is slated for a retrospective screening at the Museum Of The Moving Image in December.) Their second pair-up, 2012's "Killing Them Softly," did better commercially, but hardly the kind of blockbuster numbers one expects from a Brad Pitt movie opening in wide release (7th place in its first weekend, with a tepid $6 million) and critics found it hard to embrace the film's darkly funny, sour core. Their loss.

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