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The Playlist

Interview: David Thomson Talks New Edition Of 'Dictionary Of Film,' Roger Ebert, Future Of Cinema And Much More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 10, 2014 11:10 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The Dictionary Of Film David Thomson
Diving into a 1168 page reference book in the age of the internet, might seem like an outdated notion, but don't let the title of "The New Biographical Dictionary Of Film" fool you. More than just a dry, Wikipedia style encyclopedia of film talent, critic and acclaimed writer David Thomson brings his own unique wit, style and flavor to each entry, offering his own unbiased opinion on a director's career or actor's canon. The 'Dictionary Of Film' isn't just something you have on a shelf waiting for the rare moment when you're not near a computer or phone and you need to look something up. Thomson's depth of knowledge make the voluminous book one you'll want to keep nearby, turning to first for its insights, perspective, the dashes of added detail and context, and just the plain pleasure the verve of his writing style brings.

Interview: Composer Max Richter Talks Scoring HBO's 'The Leftovers,' Writing For Television & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 30, 2014 1:41 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Max Richter
If there is one defining characteristic about composer Max Richter, is that he refuses to stay within any preconceived boundaries. Classically trained at Edinburgh University and finishing his studies under the tutelage of avant-garde composer Luciano Berio in Florence, from there Richter’s career went in a variety of directions. He did traditional compositional work, collaborated with acts as varied as The Future Sound Of London, Roni Size and Vashti Bunyan, and issued his own complex and acclaimed solo work.

Interview: Bong Joon-Ho Talks ‘Snowpiercer' & Why The Stories About Harvey Weinstein Conflict Are Wrong

  • By Alex Suskind
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  • June 26, 2014 12:25 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Snowpiercer
Before the critical praise, the overseas box office success, and the rumored infighting between director Bong Joon-ho and studio head Harvey Weinstein, the film “Snowpiercer” was a graphic novel. Called “La Transperceneige,” it focused on a post-apocalyptic world, one filled with class warfare, political strife, and global warming, all set on a train carrying the last humans on earth.

‘Obvious Child’ Director Gillian Robespierre & Jenny Slate Talk Boundaries In Comedy, Naturalism, Improv, More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 19, 2014 12:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Obvious Child, With Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman and Gillian Robespierre.
Razor-sharp writing, taut direction, and a stellar central performance by Jenny Slate anchor Gillian Robespierre’s debut directorial feature “Obvious Child.” You’ve likely heard otherwise, its treatment of abortion dominating conversation and even the film’s promotional material, but while Robespierre wanted to buck convention with her narrative aims, she recognizes why the safer romantic comedy choices exist. “I watched those kind of films recently, and they’re still entertaining. We just wanted to tell the other side,” she says about the film, which follows New York stand-up comic Donna (Slate) as she discovers she’s pregnant after a drunken one-night-stand.

The Movies That Changed My Life: Amma Asante, Director Of 'Belle'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 12, 2014 11:20 AM
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Amma Asante, Belle
The quiet little indie sleeper of the summer has been “Belle,” the British costume drama ignored by most of the movie blog world, but which has proven to be a real word-of-mouth hit: at present, it’s taken more than $7 million, making it the third biggest indie of the year (behind “Chef” and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel”), and is still going strong. The true-life tale of Dido Elizabeth Belle, born to a British aristocrat and a West Indian slave, and raised in high society, but never able to fully participate in it, it’s also terrific, as our review from a month or so back said.

'The Rover' Director David Michôd On Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce & How We're "Hurtling Toward Oblivion"

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • June 11, 2014 1:29 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Bone-dry, brutal and so slender it’s almost emaciated, Australian director David Michôd’s second feature, after his terrific debut “Animal Kingdom,” premiered in Cannes to high anticipation and ultimately mixed reviews. We ourselves really liked “The Rover,” which stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson as unlikely companions on a bleak road trip across as collapsed and exhausted near-future Australia (review here) but can understand how Michôd’s vision of a hellish ruined world, in which the first luxury to disappear is human kindness, might have proven simply too unrelentingly bleak for some; it’s the type of film into whose deliberately empty spaces one can read everything, or nothing at all.

Interview: Dakota Fanning Talks ‘Night Moves,’ Working With Kelly Reichardt, Spielberg, Tony Scott & More

  • By Sam Adams
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  • May 29, 2014 4:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If you go into Kelly Reichardt's “Night Moves” cold, or knowing only that it's a drama about ecoterrorism from the director of “Meek's Cutoff” and “Wendy & Lucy,” you might wonder about her leading actress, a mousy, moon-faced brunette whose occasionally eerie stillness reflects both her character's implacable dedication to the cause and her failure to look beneath the surface of her beliefs. When I saw the movie at Toronto last fall, I didn't realize until the end credits I'd been watching Dakota Fanning the entire time. As she did with Michelle Williams, whom Fanning calls one of her favorite actresses, Reichardt peels away Fanning's youthful precocity to find an engrossing stillness underneath -- or rather, she got out of the way and let Fanning do it to herself.

Interview: Alejandro Jodorowsky Talks 'The Dance Of Reality,' His Belated Return To Cinema, 'Iron Man 3' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 26, 2014 11:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Jodorowsky's Dune
No matter what you think of his movies, it’s hard to deny that Alejandro Jodorowsky is a living legend. This is a man whose beautiful, dreamily surreal films helped usher in the popularity of the midnight movie (with things like “El Topo” and “Holy Mountain”) and whose visionary work has inspired a whole generation of filmmakers, artists, and technicians (as exemplified in this year’s wonderful documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” about his failed attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s sci-fi odyssey for the big screen). His newest film, “Dance of Reality,” is the Chilean director’s most personal work to date, a luminous coming-of-age tale inspired by Jodorowsky’s own autobiography and starring members of his family.

Interview: 'Wolf Creek 2' Director Greg McLean On Development, Working With Blumhouse, And Quentin Tarantino

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 17, 2014 7:35 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Wolf Creek 2
This weekend, a wonderful alternative to the overblown thrills of the Hollywood mega-blockbusters comes in the form of director Greg McLean's "Wolf Creek 2," a down-and-dirty thriller from Australia that continues the exploits of Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), a serial killer from 2005's outback-set original, who has a seriously bad case of xenophobia (we had a more enthusiastic response than our reviewer). A few weeks ago, on the eve of production on his new project for Blumhouse, "6 Miranda Drive" (starring Kevin Bacon and Ming-Na Wen), we got to chat with McLean about why it took so long, the development of the screenplay, whether or not Quentin Tarantino has seen the sequel yet and what it's like working with Blumhouse on the new project.

Interview: James Gray Discusses Harvey Weinstein, Cinematic Influences, His Career, 'Die Hard' & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • May 15, 2014 2:52 PM
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  • 5 Comments
James Gray, The Immigrant
“The Immigrant” stars the terrific cast of Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner, and the 1920s-set period piece is superficially something very different for filmmaker James Gray. Gone are the genre trappings, macho-male leads with guns, stories deeply connected to the pain and sadness of family, and the shrouded Gordon Willis-like photography the filmmaker evinced on films like "The Yards," "We Own The Night" and "Little Odessa." However, “The Immigrant,” with its themes of the fallacy of the American Dream, the desire to fit in and idea that no one is beyond redemption is very much a James Gray film. It’s a further continuation of a singular pursuit told slightly differently, retaining Gray’s signature sense of emotional intelligence, intimacy and graceful restraint.

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