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The Playlist

Interview: John Michael McDonagh Talks The Anger And Anarchy Of 'Calvary' And Beyond

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 31, 2014 3:53 PM
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John Michael McDonagh, Calvary
This Friday, a film featuring a motley collection of characters of dubious motivation centred around a costumed hero on a mission, will roll into theaters. That’s, right, we’re talking about John Michael McDonagh’s “Calvary” the complex, biting, pitchblack follow-up to the director’s more comedic debut “The Guard.” The film stars regular collaborator Brendan Gleeson, this time in a cassock as a Roman Catholic priest, the one good man in a rotten rural parish, going about his week as a countdown to the Sunday on which he’s been told one of his parishioners will kill him. And it’s an ambitious, multilayered movie that impressed us hugely in Sundance, and that provided us with a great deal to talk about when we met the director at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Interview: Werner Herzog On 'Herzog: The Collection'

  • By James Rocchi
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  • July 31, 2014 1:31 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Werner Herzog boxset
The new box set “Herzog: the Collection,” released by Shout Factory, collects 16 of Herzog's films, presented on Blu-ray for the first time, from his 1970 debut "Even Dwarves Started Small" to 1999's “My Best Fiend." Herzog has 57 films to his name, of course—and counting—but these early works pulse with energy and strangeness, charm and power, gigantic ideals somehow being borne out of small budgets and limited resources by seemingly limitless passion and sheer force of will.

'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Director James Gunn Discusses Working With Joss Whedon, Sequels, Marvel "Risks" & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 31, 2014 12:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Guardians Of The Galaxy
This week's "Guardians of the Galaxy" pushes the Marvel Cinematic Universe into strange and surprising places. And the person piloting that particular spaceship is co-writer/director James Gunn, who took a relatively obscure property about a group of intergalactic outlaws and turned it into one of the summer's more outrageously entertaining confections. It's both a break from your standard superhero fare and keeps totally within the pre-existing mythological framework—and it should both expand the brand and reinforce its power in the cinematic landscape. We talked to Gunn about how he snagged A-list stars, what the movie's chief influences were, the situation with "Ant-Man," and where Gunn (and the 'Guardians') fit into the larger cinematic puzzle.

‘A Most Wanted Man’: Anton Corbijn On Philip Seymour Hoffman, ‘Life,’ Robert Pattinson & More

  • By Alex Suskind
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  • July 24, 2014 2:10 PM
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  • 16 Comments
Anton Corbijn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, A-Most-Wanted-Man
On its own, Anton Corbijn’s “A Most Wanted Man,” based on the 2008 novel by John le Carré, is a taut, post-9/11 spy thriller about a government’s attempt to avert future terror attacks. But consider the events that transpired outside the film, and it morphs into a more substantial, sad, and definitive piece of work.

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy': Director Luc Besson Talks The Strong Women In 6 Of His Key Films

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 22, 2014 3:54 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Lucy, Scarlett
For a man who makes his living writing and producing muscular action movies like the "Taken" franchise, Luc Besson is a filmmaker who has continually shown an amazing sensitivity and fondness for strong female characters. These aren't buxom bimbos that wield Uzis and mutter one-liners; these are fully dimensional characters that Besson is seemingly fascinated by, since they turn up in everything from historical epics to tiny, Kapra-esque comedies. The newest Luc Besson heroine is the title character played by Scarlett Johansson in this week's "Lucy," about a young woman who, after accidentally ingesting an experimental drug, unlocks the potential of the human brain. It's crazy and kind of awesome, and the latest in a long line of Besson's strong female characters.

Interview: William Friedkin on ‘Sorcerer,’ The ‘Killer Joe’ TV Show And Life Beyond “Macho Bullsh*t Stories”

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 21, 2014 2:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
At 78, William Friedkin is experiencing a new lease on life, career-wise. When we spoke with the genial, anecdote-laden, Oscar-winning director at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, he let drop that he's in contention, at least, for what has to be one of the choicest TV gigs on offer: season 2 of “True Detective,” or part thereof.

Interviews: Mike Cahill & Michael Pitt Reflect On Science Vs. Faith In 'I Origins'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • July 18, 2014 3:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
I Origins
When “Another Earth” premiered at Sundance three years ago, the quiet, otherworldly drama made quite a splash with critics and audiences alike. First-time director Mike Cahill’s talents were obvious—even on a low budget—and lead actress (and co-writer) Brit Marling was a breakout star.

Interview: Michel Gondry On ‘Mood Indigo,’ Fancy Props, And The Future Of Stop-Motion Animation

  • By Alex Suskind
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  • July 16, 2014 3:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Michel Gondry’s newest movie, “Mood Indigo” (based on the legendary French novel by Boris Vian), is filled with many of the same fantastical and emotional tropes that have been splashed throughout his filmography: cloud rides over France, cars made of see-through panels, a piano that produces cocktails (fittingly called a Pianocktail). There’s also the familiar romantic approach––a budding relationship between two individuals (Romain Duris and Audrey Tatou) that reaches the manic highs and depressing lows we’ve all come to experience at some point in our lives.

Interview: Richard Linklater Examines 'Boyhood,' Memory, Time & Perspective

  • By Sam Adams
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  • July 15, 2014 11:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Boyhood
Richard Linklater says making "Boyhood" was "unlike any film ever," and it's hard to disagree with him. Plenty of movies have spent more than a decade stuck in turnaround, but there's nothing in the history of fiction film to match the unique process of "Boyhood," shooting several days each year for 12 years and then turning the results into a poetic and deeply moving look at how time changes us in ways we both do and don't see (If the title weren't already taken, "Boyhood" could easily have been called "Life Itself.") Since its late-breaking debut at Sundance, Linklater's sprawling but intimate story has been met with near-universal praise, and continued a winning streak that, after "Bernie" and "Before Midnight," is rivaled only by the early threepeat of "Slacker," "Dazed and Confused" and "Before Sunrise."

Interview: Director Matt Reeves Explores The "Anatomy Of Violence" In ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • July 14, 2014 1:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Dawn of the Planet Of the Apes
Tribalism, the rise and fall of civilizations, broken brotherhoods and the tragic failure to coexist: these are not the familiar ingredients for a summer tentpole movie. And yet here they are in Matt Reeves’ well-considered, thoughtful and morally complex, “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” a summer blockbuster that considers a lot of ambitious ideas, successfully arranges them and yet never at the expense of scope, spectacle and drama. We could probably see hundreds of blockbusters like these and not get tired of them. They are every reason we go to the movies: for escapism, but also to have a piece of art reflect back a little piece of humanity back at us. And Reeves' movie does that in spades.

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