The Playlist

How Russell Crowe Found Inspiration In Ol' Dirty Bastard For 'The Man With The Iron Fists' & More From RZA & Lucy Liu

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • November 2, 2012 10:02 AM
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As writer, director and star of “The Man with the Iron Fists,“ rapper RZA finally brings his vision, and his career inspirations, to the big screen. The multi-hyphenate, who plays the Blacksmith in this twisty martial arts tale, was thrilled to be at the helm of a $20 million Universal film, but he knew that this project would immediately need to be distinguished from other similar movies.

Interview: Barry Levinson Talks Going The Horror Route With Eco-Thriller 'The Bay'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 31, 2012 4:18 PM
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This weekend, Barry Levinson's disgustingly gelatinous eco-horror tale, "The Bay," will be unleashed in theaters and on iTunes. A cutting, inventive found-footage tale of a Fourth of July weekend that goes horribly wrong, we saw it at the New York Film Festival (where it was part of their inaugural crop of midnight movies) and pretty much loved it. The movie is all the more surprising for coming from the gentle, humanist creator of "Diner" and "Tin Men." We caught up with Levinson at this year's New York Comic Con and talked about what brought him to the found-footage horror genre, where film is headed, and what he thought of that gushing Vanity Fair piece on "Diner" from a few months ago.

Julia Loktev On 'The Loneliest Planet,' How Roberto Rosselini & Mikhail Kalatozov Inspired The Film & More

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 26, 2012 3:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Few were prepared for Julia Loktev's astounding "Day Night Day Night," a harrowing bare-bones drama about a young, innocuous woman preparing to become a suicide bomber. Though it was only her second film (and her first narrative), the project exhuded the confidence and prowess of a more seasoned filmmaker -- contemporary American indies just don't come like this, especially from someone with little experience under their belt. It was something special, and those it touched made sure that Loktev was on their radar.

Interview: Don Argott & Demian Fenton Of 'Last Days Here' Talk The Nature Of Exploitation, Honesty & Making A New Lamb Of God Film

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 23, 2012 5:03 PM
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SundanceNOW’s DOC CLUB is in full swing this October with “Music Month,” a curated program of documentaries pertaining to music and musicians which includes Spike Lee’s “Passing Strange” and the previously mentioned “Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?)” Also on the roster is another great film (and one of this writer’s top picks of 2012), Don Argott and Demian Fenton’s “Last Days Here.” The creative team from “The Art Of The Steal” take a look at the virtually unknown and deeply undersung 1970s heavy rock band Pentagram, detailing their history and the troubled life of frontman Bobby Liebling right as he prepares to do one last album.

Interview: Writer/Director Ben Lewin Talks Uncovering The Amazing True Story Of 'The Sessions' And Casting John Hawkes

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 22, 2012 12:03 PM
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Sundance likes nothing more than an overnight success. Countless directors have, over the thirty-odd years of the festival, gone from total unknowns to the hot new thing, and they're usually some fresh-faced whippersapper, relatively speaking. This year's festival had one of those, in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" director Benh Zeitlin, but it also had, in the shape of "The Sessions" helmer Ben Lewin, a rather more atypical overnight success, as Lewin is a 65-year-old filmmaker with credits stretching back nearly four decades.

NYFF: Miguel Gomes On 'Tabu' And The Pleasures And Phantoms Of Cinema

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 17, 2012 8:01 PM
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Behold the courage of Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes: hoping to do a film in the vein of “Meet Me In St. Louis,” he and and a crew traveled to the small Arganil Municipality in the country to begin work on a movie featuring a small family band -- that is until the movie’s investor died before signing the dotted line. Instead of calling it a day, Gomes pressed on and made "Our Beloved Month of August," a doc/fiction hybrid that captured the essence of the lively environment while commenting on the fragility and banality of a film production. It’s a special, beautiful beast of a movie that unfortunately didn’t see much of a release. Luckily, Gomes has quickly followed up with the brilliant “Tabu.”

Interview: John Scheinfeld Talks Harry Nilsson, VOD, Jeff Bridges, And New Music Documentaries

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 17, 2012 7:05 PM
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Documentary fanatics should hopefully already be familiar with SundanceNOW’s terrific DOC CLUB program (for the uninitiated, it’s a carefully curated VOD/streaming program by doc connoisseur Thom Powers of Toronto International Film Festival, DOC NYC, Miami Film Festival and others). October is “Music Month" on SundanceNOW and one of the documentaries prominently featured is John Scheinfeld’s excellent tribute to Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter/still-underrated musician Harry Nilsson titled “Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?” An informative tribute to a talent that tried like hell to stay out of the spotlight, the filmmaker’s effort is an enjoyable one and is near-guaranteed to propel you towards Nilsson’s discography.

Exclusive: Matthias Schoenaerts Spills On Guillaume Canet's 'Blood Ties,' Says 'Robocop' Talk Was Blown "Out Of Proportion"

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 17, 2012 3:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
One of the big breakout performers of 2012 is looking likely to be the first major Belgian movie star since Audrey Hepburn (yep, she was born in Belgium) -- Matthias Schoenaerts. The 34-year-old has been acting for nearly two decades, but finally exploded in 2012 thanks to acclaimed back-to-back performances in the Oscar-nominated "Bullhead" and opposite Marion Cotillard in Jacques Audiard's celebrated Cannes drama "Rust & Bone."

NYFF: 'Barbara' Director Christian Petzold Talks The Influence Of 'Klute' & Reveals What He Plans To Do Next

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 15, 2012 10:04 AM
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When the wall came down, German filmmakers found themselves ushered into two clusters: those that concentrated on the country’s fascist past and the others that shined light on anything else. The latter clique was hailed as pushing the medium forward; they often dabbled in social-realism with little dialogue and snail-like pacing -- and though their box office receipts were low in comparison to their brother faction, they seduced international audiences and held their ground at many of the world’s foremost film festivals. As the first and second generation of directors emerging after the split, the media dubbed their movement the “Berlin School” (a moniker they’re not thrilled over) and the team pressed on making films, a trio of them even coming together to shoot a “Red Riding”-esque trilogy in “Dreileben.”

NYFF: Director Peter Strickland Talks 'Berberian Sound Studio,' Toby Jones & The Forced Digital Revolution

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 13, 2012 1:03 PM
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Aspiring filmmakers should take note of British helmer Peter Strickland -- with few shorts under his belt and a small wad of cash (about £25,000 which was spent mostly on film stock), the director headed to Hungary and shot an atmospheric, deeply nuanced movie and spent the next two years tweaking the edit and soundsphere. “Katalin Varga” was born, and though its distribution left something to be desired, the movie itself was one of the most impressive feature debuts in a long time -- cheaply shot on celluloid and highly masterful, absent were the hiccups or generous shots of people-talking-in-apartments that are contained in most first feature attempts.

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