The Playlist

Savannah Film Festival: Alec Baldwin Talks 'Seduced & Abandoned,' Turning Down 'Grand Theft Auto,' Marvel & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 29, 2013 3:46 PM
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Alec Baldwin
It all started with an idea to an idea to make a movie called "Last Tango In Tikrit." For Alec Baldwin and writer/director James Toback, their desire to produce an erotic, sexually charged movie, set in the Middle East, which a budget of $25-30 million soon found them dealing with an industry that no long makes erotic, sexually charged movies for $25-30 million. And so what came out of a yet to be realized project turned into the documentary "Seduced & Abandoned" (our review), which screened this week at the Savannah Film Festival in addition to premiering on HBO.

Interview: Keanu Reeves Talks Plot & Status Of 'Bill & Ted 3,' What Happened To Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Jekyll' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 29, 2013 2:47 PM
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  • 1 Comment
We were lucky enough to speak to Keanu Reeves earlier today about his directorial debut, the underground fight saga "Man of Tai Chi." We'll have more from our interview with Reeves in the days ahead (including what it was like transitioning from "Man of Tai Chi" to "47 Ronin") but we wanted to first share with you an update about three seemingly endlessly gestating projects for the actor: the third "Bill & Ted" movie, the sci-fi romance "Passengers" (which recently cast its leading lady) and what happened with "Jekyll," a film that at one time he was going to make with Nicolas Winding Refn.

Savannah Film Fest: Alexander Payne Talks 'Nebraska,' Visual Effects & Asks Where Adult Dramas Have Gone

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 28, 2013 1:02 PM
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“I believe in movies,” Alexander Payne emphatically states during our interview at the Savannah Film Festival over the weekend. The director was not only on hand to present “Nebraska,” which served as the opening film of the festival, but also to receive the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema award, presented by the movie’s star, Bruce Dern. And Payne’s passion for film is clearly present in his approach for his latest effort. The road trip story about a stubborn, determined father (Dern) and his put-upon son (played by Will Forte) journeying to claim a sweepstakes prize, is presented in black and white, and shot in widescreen—certainly not the usual elements one expects these days in a movie that blends drama, comedy and Payne’s always focused eye on the textures of the Midwest.

“It Was Just You, Your Skin, And Your Emotion”: Lea Seydoux & Adele Exarchopoulos Talk 'Blue Is The Warmest Color'

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • October 22, 2013 1:09 PM
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Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren, Stanley Kubrick and Shelley Duvall, David O. Russell and Lily Tomlin. At the Los Angeles press day for Palme d'Or winner “Blue Is The Warmest Color" (our review), we were given these precedents by a publicist for the film's increasingly heated behind-the-scenes controversy, which began at Cannes and has slowly unfurled ever since, and was presumed to be one of the key topics for our roundtable conversations with director Abdellatif Kechiche and his lead actresses, Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos.

Michael Fassbender Explains Parallels Between '12 Years A Slave' & 'Wuthering Heights,' Talks Awards And More

  • By Jen Vineyard
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  • October 18, 2013 12:11 PM
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  • 3 Comments
12 Years A Slave, Michael Fassbender
There's something that Michael Fassbender does in "12 Years a Slave" (our review) that reveals the nature of his character, the unstable, probably psychotic plantation owner Edwin Epps, which wasn't on the page. Every time Epps is around one of his slaves, he's touching them — hooking his arm around the neck of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), as if the two of them were best buds, or propping his arm atop another's head, as if it were a fencepost. The gestures seem casual on the surface, even friendly, but because he is the master and they are slaves, it's something more threatening and contemptuous, erasing the notion of personal space.

Nicolas Winding Refn Talks 'Only God Forgives,' Tokyo's Qualities For 'The Avenging Silence' & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 18, 2013 11:05 AM
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"Make the movie you want to make, and go with God. There's nothing else you can really do," Nicolas Winding Refn told us over the phone last week, as he closes out his year with one last run at U.S. press for "Only God Forgives" as it heads to home video. There's little doubt he stuck with that rule in making his second film with Ryan Gosling, a dreamy, vicious revenge saga, heavy on mood and thin on dialogue. The picture polarized critics on the Croisette and gave us plenty to talk about. Qhile Refn's latest was heavily scrutinized, the director himself remained reflective about his second go at Cannes following his Best Director win two years ago for "Drive."

Catherine Hardwicke Talks Musical Thriller 'Plush,' Blockbuster Vs. Indie Releasing & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 17, 2013 1:06 PM
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Catherine Hardwicke
Catherine Hardwicke is insane. This isn't a dig. It's a fact. Like the sky is blue and water is wet. The director of "Thirteen" and the first "Twilight" has a delightfully off-kilter aura that is positively infectious. After helping to create that blockbuster franchise (and, honestly, what would those movies be without her casting?), she directed a big studio movie for Warner Bros. ("Red Riding Hood") before going back to what she does best: dramatize the lives of young people on the edge. The result? "Plush," which after a brief theatrical run is out on DVD this week.

Interview: 'The Fifth Estate' Director Bill Condon Talks Tackling Julian Assange, Returning To Horror & Sherlock Holmes

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 16, 2013 10:00 AM
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The Fifth Estate Bill Condon
It's rare that a movie inspired by true events is released while those events are still happening. But such is the case with "The Fifth Estate," a movie that dramatizes the firestorm of controversy that engulfs Julian Assange, the eccentric founder of the WikiLeaks website that made national headlines when they distributed thousands of previously classified documents about America's ongoing wars in the Middle East. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Assange as part freedom fighter, part hustler, part egomaniac, accompanied by lively direction from "Gods & Monsters" filmmaker Bill Condon. We spoke with the director about visualizing Assange's headspace, a potential return to horror, and his upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie.

NYFF: Jim Jarmusch & Tilda Swinton Talk The Vampire Romance Of ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 14, 2013 3:03 PM
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While she arrived a little late, Tilda Swinton made a grand entrance at the New York Film Festival press conference for “Only Lovers Left Alive," Jim Jarmusch’s meditative, moody and yet hilarious look at a vampire relationship that has spanned centuries. The movie stars Tom Hiddleston and Swinton as Adam and Eve, two vampire lovers separated by continents, she in Tangiers and he in bombed out Detroit. But the duo have to reuinte when Adam, an Über-hip but anti-hipster musician, who would rather not have his music out in the world because that would taint it, goes through a kind of existential and perhaps even suicidal crisis (read our full review here).

NYFF: Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern & Will Forte Talk The Particular Tone Of ‘Nebraska’

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 9, 2013 4:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Nebraska, Bruce Dern, Payne
An alcoholic father suffering from the early onsets of dementia gets a sweepstakes notice that he’s won a million dollars. It’s a scam obviously, but the elderly man is determined to see it through, despite his wife and older son’s protests to the contrary. What’s the youngest son to do? Perhaps trying to relate and bond on a level they’ve never connected before, as he agrees to drive his father from Montana to Nebraska to track down the prize, but many detours await, including a protracted pit stop in his dad’s hometown.

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