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The Playlist

Ben Mankiewicz Talks TCM Classic Film Festival, Why 'Transformers' Is "Unwatchable" & The Movie He's Seen 40 Times

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • May 14, 2013 2:59 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Ben Mankiewicz is a man of many talents – weekend host on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), regular co-host of liberal YouTube show “The Young Turks” and its spin-offs “What The Flick?! Show” and “TYT Sports,” and he played a sportscaster on “Party Down.” And while it may seem like Mankiewicz plays to a particularly older audience, as a TCM host, Mankiewicz has an expanding flock of classic film fans and they’re not all blue-hairs -- just check out the twitter hashtag #TCMParty.

Interview: Noah Baumbach Talks 'Frances Ha', Liking His 'Unlikeable' Characters, What's Next & More

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • May 14, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
We recently had the good fortune to speak with filmmaker Noah Baumbach as he starts the long, winding road of press for the upcoming release of his latest film, the sublime black-and-white character piece and uproarious comedy "Frances Ha," starring Greta Gerwig (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Baumbach). The writer/director, shot 'Frances' on the quick and quiet (hardly anyone knew it even existed until it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year), though he claims he didn't set out to keep the movie a secret.

Interview: Ben Wheatley Talks The Dark, Twisted & Hilarious 'Sightseers,' Says 'Freakshift' Is Next & Casting Soon

  • By Jordan Hoffman
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  • May 8, 2013 3:57 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Ben Wheatley, Sightseers
After a very successful run on the festival circuit Ben Wheatley's dark and somewhat ghastly comedy “Sightseers” is finally making itself available to theater-goers in hip cities and VODers across the country. It is, in my opinion, the most assured work from the British director of “Kill List” and “Down Terrace”, a very funny vacation-comedy about pair of social misfits/lovebirds visiting mundane historical sites and leaving a trail of corpses in their wake. Written by its co-stars Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Wheatley's frequent collaborator (and wife) Amy Jump, “Sightseers” also boasts an executive producer stamp from Edgar Wright.

Interview: Mark Romanek Talks Making 'One Hour Photo,' What Happened With 'Cinderella' & What Might Be Up Next

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 7, 2013 1:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Even before Mark Romanek yelled action on "One Hour Photo," his debut feature film, he was already a trailblazer behind the camera. The filmmaker had made a name for himself as a music video director, helming iconic spots for Lenny Kravitz ("Are You Gonna Go My Way"), Nine Inch Nails ("Closer"), Madonna ("Bedtime Stories"), Michael Jackson ("Scream"), Fiona Apple ("Criminal"), Johnny Cash ("Hurt") and much, much more. His videos were bold and found Romanek easily able to switch genres musically and stylistically without batting an eye, delivering evocative spots that both defined Romanek and the artists he worked with. But when it came to his feature film, he largely kept the flashy stylization at bay.

Interview: Kaya Scodelario On 'Emanuel & The Truth About Fishes,' Sean Durkin's 'Southcliffe' & Her Return To 'Skins'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 7, 2013 11:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Every year (at least in the last few), it seems there's at least one actress who, while already on many radars, comes to Sundance with a performance that launches her to true stardom. Carey Mulligan, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Olsen, Mia Wasikowska and Quvenzhane Wallis all went to Park City as complete or relative unknowns, and left at the top of casting wish-lists. This year, perhaps the most notable Sundance starlet to break out was Kaya Scodelario.

Interview: Sarah Polley Talks The Ethics Of 'Stories We Tell,' Adapting 'Alias Grace' & Revisiting 'Take This Waltz'

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • May 6, 2013 12:16 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Halfway into Sarah Polley's genre-swapping documentary, “Stories We Tell,” the actor/director takes a break from shooting “Mr. Nobody” with Jared Leto to take a phone call. Still dressed in Neanderthal costume and make-up from the scene, she walks outside, sits on a bench, and reads an email on her Blackberry. Its contents are the makings of a news story -- one that Polley had just intimately lived herself and one that comprises the focus of her stunning, humanistic look at family and memory.

Interview: Lake Bell On Her Love Of Movie Trailers & Her Directorial Debut 'In A World...'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 2, 2013 2:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Lake Bell
Sundance London was something of a homecoming for actress/writer/director/producer Lake Bell. Though born in New York, Bell began her career studying acting at London's Rose Bruford College, a stone's throw away from the O2 complex where the festival was taking place. And what better place could there be for the international premiere of the feature directorial debut from the star, who's consistently impressed both in TV roles like "How To Make It In America" and "Children's Hospital," and on the big screen in the likes of "It's Complicated" and "Pride & Glory."

Interview: Lynn Shelton On 'Touchy Feely,' Improvisation & Having Catherine Keener As A Casting Director

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 2, 2013 1:06 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It's exciting at the moment to see some of the names who broke out of the independent scene in the middle of last decade -- the filmmakers often lazily grouped under "mumblecore," people like Mark and Jay Duplass, Joe Swanberg, Ry Russo-Young, et al. -- getting to play on bigger canvases with big name actors and more robust budgets than when they were starting out. And it's particularly exciting when it comes to Lynn Shelton.

Director Jeff Nichols Talks 'Mud,' Writing For Matthew McConaughey & The Ending Of 'Take Shelter'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 30, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Last weekend, "Mud," a charming story about a couple of young kids who help an escaped murderer (played by Matthew McConaughey), opened in limited release. The movie is the third feature written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who made a splash with his gritty debut "Shotgun Stories" and then followed through on that initial promise with "Take Shelter," a wry psychological thriller that starred Michael Shannon (who also appears the director's other two features). "Mud" continues along the path that the earlier movies established – they're all hardscrabble genre films to one degree or another, set in a Deep South so tangible you can practically reach out and squeeze the hanging Spanish moss.

Interview: 'Lords Of Salem' Director Rob Zombie Talks Making The Film, Studio Expectations, 'Broad Street Bullies' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 29, 2013 6:14 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Lords Of Salem, Rob Zombie
There are few genre filmmakers working today who are as exciting and unpredictable as Rob Zombie. The rock musician (he continues to make music – he just dropped a new album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor) has a singular love for all things horror, particularly the down-and-dirty chillers from the seventies and early eighties, augmenting these earlier films with bold stylistic experimentation and a kind of gleeful willingness to push the envelope when it comes to sex and violence. His latest film, "Lords of Salem," produced by Blumhouse Productions and distributed by Anchor Bay, was released last week. A bold stylistic departure for Zombie, it's a leisurely paced descent into madness more akin to Roman Polanski's apartment trilogy than anything involving Texas, chainsaws, or massacres.

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