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Telluride Review: Michael Winterbottom’s ‘Everyday’ Is Uneven, But Emotionally Rewarding

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 3, 2012 9:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The ultra prolific British helmer Michael Winterbottom has now made twenty films since his debut, “Butterfly Kiss,” in 1995. His eclectic creative appetites and peripatetic energy has seen the restless director take on a disparate array of projects from moody sci-fi ("Code 46"), pulpy noir ("The Killer Inside Me"), a post-modern music-scene saga ("24 Hour Party People") a western ("The Claim") and many, many more genres including documentaries as well.

Review: 'Anna Karenina' Is A Bold Reimagining Of A Classic That's (Mostly) Thrilling & Inventive

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2012 7:53 PM
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  • 36 Comments
When it was announced that Joe Wright was going to direct a new film version of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," starring his cinematic muse Keira Knightley, most people probably knew what to expect. After all, the two had collaborated on both Wright's debut "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement" (both also produced by Working Title Films) and it was easy to assume that their take on the Russian classic would be along similar lines; a handsome period piece taking advantage of the best British actors available, and with a few showy camera touches that would set it apart from your average costume drama.

Venice Review: 'Fill The Void' An Orthodox Jewish Romance Caught Awkwardly Between Comedy & Melodrama

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2012 2:10 PM
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  • 2 Comments
After a Cannes Film Festival which attracted criticism for including no female directors whatsoever, new Venice Film Festival head Alberto Barbera seems to be having bit of a dig at his Gallic rivals with his first year in charge. In the official selection alone, there are four female directors or co-directors, and plenty more in the various sidebars. Perhaps most notably are some from the Middle East. “Wadjda” is the first film ever made in Saudi Arabia, and that it’s made by a female director, Haifaa Al Mansour, in a country not known for its love of women in positions of power is rather extraordinary (word is the film’s pretty good too: unfortunately, other commitments kept us from seeing it here, but we plan to catch up elsewhere).

Venice Review: Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder' Is A Raw & Heartfelt Film Of Loss And Longing

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2012 7:18 AM
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  • 37 Comments
For a man not known for being prolific, an eighteen-month gap between Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” (the filmmaker’s first film in five years) and his latest, “To the Wonder” (only his sixth in forty years) isn’t just unprecedented, it’s positively mind-boggling, especially given that the director is currently shooting a pair of films, “Knight of Cups” and another untitled film starring Ryan Gosling, back to back.

Telluride Review: Endearing & Buoyant ‘Frances Ha’ Marks A Terrific Gear Shift For Director Noah Baumbach

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 1, 2012 8:47 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Loose, limber and driven by a fierce energy and staccato/pause rhythm we haven't seen previously from this filmmaker, Noah Baumbach's sublime "Frances Ha" is a fresh and vivacious near-reinvention of the director/writer's comedic milieu. An enchanting riff on friendship and the late-20-something right of passage into true adulthood, while the buoyant comedy does focus on those who still don't have their shit together, it is however, leagues more rich and emotionally layered than the average arrested development dilemma that seems to pervade 20/30-something comedies of late.

Telluride Review: Intimate & Devastating ‘Ginger & Rosa’ Features A Transformative Elle Fanning Performance

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 1, 2012 12:22 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Lovely and devastating, challenging yet worthwhile, Sally Potter's "Ginger & Rosa" may be the English filmmaker's best since "Orlando," and perhaps her most accessible to date. The intimate and sensual picture also features yet another terrific performance by 14-year-old Elle Fanning, who is quickly becoming the most compelling teenage actor working in movies today. But this time, as the lead, Fanning is transformative, heartbreakingly conveying the inner-life of an adolescent with an almost eerie and nuanced command of her craft.

Venice Review: 'The Master' Is Paul Thomas Anderson's Most Complex And Distinctive Film To Date

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 1, 2012 7:37 AM
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  • 23 Comments
No movie has been more keenly anticipated by cinephiles in 2012 than Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” The filmmaker has been one of cinema’s most exciting new voices for a decade and a half now, but reached a new level of adulation with his last picture, ”There Will Be Blood,” which won awards and topped critical lists the world over five years ago. As such, the genesis and production of “The Master” was avidly followed, not least because the film was long ago said to revolve around a fictionalized surrogate of L. Ron Hubbard and his ever-controversial Scientology, and because Anderson had shot the film on 70mm film, the first major production to do so since Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” in 1996.

Telluride Review: Ben Affleck's '70s-Flavored 'Argo' Is A Terrifically Suspenseful & Entertaining Thriller

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 31, 2012 8:16 PM
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  • 20 Comments
Ben Affleck's third feature-length film, the terrifically suspenseful dramatic thriller "Argo," is the second picture to use Warner Bros.' 1970s logo in 2012. And like "Magic Mike," the Soderbergh film that employed the same logo earlier this year, it's an augur of what's to come, announcing a tone, mood and millieu that is imported straight from that era. Sporting a love for movies on his sleeve, Affleck's film gives nods to the smart, entertaining and engaging thrillers from the '70s -- "All The President's Men," "Three Days of the Condor," et al. -- and playfully with B-movie science-fiction pictures of the era without ever trying to lean too hard into any specific homage.

Venice Review: Ulrich Seidl's 'Paradise: Faith' Is A Disarmingly Funny & Tender Examination Of Sex & Religion

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 31, 2012 3:33 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Trilogies can come in different forms. There’s Hollywood’s favourite variety – two sequels to a hit, that organically (“The Godfather”) or inorganically (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) expand on the original film’s success. There’s the single story that’s too big to fit into a single film, like “The Apu Trilogy” or Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings.” There’s the loosely thematically linked kind, like Park Chan-wook’s "vengeance trilogy," which share nothing but a central concern. And then there’s a trilogy like Krzysztof Kieślowski’s "Three Colors," which not only share a grand thematic tapestry, but also have crossovers between their characters.

Venice Review: Spike Lee's 'Bad 25' A Comprehensive & Warm Look At The Making Of Michael Jackson's Album

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 31, 2012 7:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments
A couple of years ago, before he set up his low-budget comeback film “Red Hook Summer," Spike Lee was planning another NYC-set project, “Brooklyn Loves MJ,” with the story taking place on the night of the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson in June 2009. Said to star Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie and more, the film never came together (although Lee told us recently that he hoped to get it going again), but the director’s been able to pay tribute to the late King of Pop in a couple of other ways. For one, he’s helped to organize a semi-annual Brooklyn Loves MJ party (although it didn’t take place this year or last for various reasons). And then there’s the director’s latest film, and his second of 2012, “Bad 25.” The subject matter is less weighty for the man behind such stirring docs as "4 Little Girls" and "When The Levees Broke," but the results are no less pleasing for this effort which delves into the making of Jackson's Bad, the fifth biggest-selling LP of all time.

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