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NYFF: Cristian Mungiu Disappointed With Church Reaction To 'Beyond The Hills,' Talks The Lack Of Romanian Cinema Culture

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 12, 2012 3:04 PM
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Cristian’s Mungiu’s “Beyond the Hills” took two substantial awards at its Cannes premiere -- Best Screenplay and Best Actress -- but this writer still can’t help but think word has been unfairly quiet about the rather phenomenal film after the Croisette cleared. Employing a much more refined aesthetic previously used in “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days,” the filmmaker’s newest tackles rigid faith, emotional/spiritual turmoil, and grave indifference. Up at an Orthodox Church in rural Romania, Voichita (Cosmina Straten) meets with estranged best friend Alina (Cristina Flutur) and allows her to temporarily stay at the convent before leaving for Germany. Both former orphans (with a deeper relationship hinted at), the newcomer disapproves of Voichita’s religious calling and believes that she will join her in the move -- but when that doesn’t happen, both go to disastrous lengths to set the other on what they think is the right path.

NYFF: How David Fincher's 'Zodiac,' 'Koyaanisqatsi,' Mr. Plinkett & More Inspired 'Room 237'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 12, 2012 10:13 AM
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“The Shining” has burrowed its way into the heads of filmgoers for years now, becoming a perennial pick as one of the greatest horror films of all-time. But there’s always been something more than sinister and unique lying underneath the surface of “The Shining” in it’s paradoxes, contradictions, and flat-out mysteries. The new documentary “Room 237,” which recently showed at the New York Film Festival, casts a light on some of these theories, but the focus isn’t on what “The Shining” is about (which could be American Indians, the moon landing, or sexual abuse), but rather what it means to become obsessed by a film, vexed and perplexed by the meanings between the lines, the truth, or the lies, that manifest when we begin to consume a film far beyond what’s comfortable.

NYFF Interview: Olivier Assayas Talks Music, The Occupy Movement & The Movies That Inspired 'Something In The Air'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 11, 2012 3:04 PM
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Sex, drugs, riots, and rock 'n' roll are just a few of the cultural elements within Olivier Assayas’ latest film, “Something in the Air.” Following high-school revolutionary Gilles (Clément Métayer) and his various friends, the filmmaker tracks burgeoning French political awakening and a coming-of-age story with a keen eye, basing much of the plot on his own life in the 1970s. Gilles wavers between radical commitment and more personal, artistic aspirations while also grappling with love and loss. We caught the movie at the Venice Film Festival and dug it, complementing the movie on its substance and sharp look.

Abbas Kiarostami Wants To Reteam With Juliette Binoche, Talks 'Like Someone In Love' & Weighs In On The 'Innocence Of Muslims'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 10, 2012 4:59 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Perennial Iranian director/legend Abbas Kiarostami’s second filmmaking-holiday (the first being the wonderful “Certified Copy”) finds him in Japan, observing two days in the life of an unlikely trio: a student moonlighting as a call girl, her aged, patriarchal client, and the woman’s hot-head boyfriend. “Like Someone In Love” contains many of the auteur’s persistent fascinations -- long car rides, lengthy conversation, numerous off camera actions and characters, leisurely pacing -- but has the unfortunate position of coming directly after a very unique, wonderful piece of cinema. Reactions have been quite mixed since its first festival appearance early this year (our man at Cannes was not as impressed while this writer thought it was lovely) but most can agree that it’s a visually stunning film with plenty of substance to ruminate on.

Exclusive: RZA Working On Two Separate ODB Biopics, Second Titled 'Dirt: One Word Could Change The World'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 4, 2012 2:56 PM
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Director-producer-actor-rapper The RZA has both feet firmly planted in the film world with November’s “The Man With The Iron Fists,” but he’s certainly not planning on forgetting his roots anytime soon. Long in the works, RZA has long planned to adapt the life of fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard to the screen, but it’s been years since there’s been movement. As it turns out, one of the reasons is that we’re getting not one, but two ODB films.

'Hotel Transylvania' Director Genndy Tartakovsky On Making The Hit Movie, His Take On The 'Dark Crystal' Sequel & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 3, 2012 2:22 PM
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Over the weekend, the animated monster mash "Hotel Transylvania" scared away September box office records and established its director, Genndy Tartakovsky, previously known for his work on the small screen with series like "Dexter's Laboratory" and the highly influential "Samurai Jack," as a major force in feature animation. We talked to the director about how he was able to crack the notoriously difficult story, what happened with projects that involved everyone from J.J. Abrams to Jim Henson's company to George Lucas, and what his approach to a 3D feature animation-based "Popeye" will be.

'Frankenweenie' Writer John August Talks Working With Tim Burton, Apps & The 'Big Fish' Musical

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 3, 2012 1:40 PM
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John August is a screenwriter who has one of those careers every maître d' who has hidden a script under a stack of menus envies. His first script, the straight-outta-film-school "Go" was jazzily directed by "Swingers" helmer Doug Liman, and less than a half-decade later, August started a lengthy creative partnership with director Tim Burton. Just this year, August provided the original story for Burton's gonzo "Dark Shadows" update (his draft -- which he calls one of the best things he's ever penned -- was heavily rewritten by current Burton favorite Seth Grahame-Smith) and this week he has "Frankenweenie," a stop-motion animated feature based on one of Burton's very first projects – a live-action 1984 short. We talked to August about his relationship with Tim Burton, whether he plans on writing and directing again anytime soon, and his work on the "Big Fish" musical.

Lea Seydoux On The Emotional Difficulties Of 'Sister' & The Excitement Of Starring In A More Faithful 'Beauty And The Beast'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 2, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In Ursula Meier’s “Sister,” the talented Lea Seydoux plays Louise, a complex maternal figure to a young boy named Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein). Though most know the beautiful, wayward Louise as Simon's older sister, she regularly leaves him alone without a parent, finding affection in the arms of a man and leaving the boy to make ends meet hustling stolen skiing goods. Seydoux had hesitations about playing such an upsetting character, and as she told us in an interview this week, she initially found the character, “Cruel. She’s completely selfish.”

Joe Dante Talks Making 'The Hole' & Updates Status On Future Films 'Monster Love,' 'Paris, I'll Kill You' & More

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • September 28, 2012 3:59 PM
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It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a feature film by director Joe Dante, but he certainly hasn't been forgotten. The cult around his films from "Gremlins" to “Explorers” or even 1993’s criminally marginalized “Matinee” (featuring one of John Goodman’s best performances to date), continues to loom large, and that certainly helps make way for a welcome return with his latest feature “The Hole,” a flick that chronicles the darkness looming inside an abandoned hole in the middle of a basement, and the three suburban kids who stumble upon it.

'The Iran Job' Filmmaker Till Schauder & Subject Kevin Sheppard Talk Iranian Basketball Fans, Crossing Culture Barriers & More

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • September 26, 2012 10:04 AM
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When the documentary “The Iran Job” premiered at LA Film Festival earlier this summer, it was met with such a warm response that the festival had to add another screening to the schedule to accommodate the demand. This was due in no small part to the winning personality of subject Kevin Sheppard, a professional basketball player from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, hired to play on an Iranian basketball team, and the genuinely moving and topical film that director Till Schauder crafted out of one man’s journey. Our review said the film was, “a highly entertaining, moving documentary that offers a unique perspective on the country through this one man.”

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