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The Playlist

Interview: Robin Weigert Talks The Emotional Intimacy Of 'Concussion'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • October 3, 2013 6:05 PM
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Robin Weigert gives one of the most intimate and brave performances of the year in “Concussion,” a drama about a bored housewife who turns to escorting to spice up her life. But the feature debut by Stacie Passon flips the “Belle de Jour” script, as Weigert’s character Abby is in a same sex marriage with responsible lawyer Kate. The two women live in suburban contentment with their two kids, dream house, and spin classes, until one day Abby gets a “wake up call” in the form of a softball to the head. This injury awakens a long-dormant sexual desire in her, and with the help of her young contractor, begins to see female clients in her New York City loft.

NYFF: James Gray Talks Writing For Marion Cotillard & The Cinematic Influences Of ‘The Immigrant’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 3, 2013 4:03 PM
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​On the surface, filmmaker James Gray’s fifth film, “The Immigrant,” is steeped in the tradition of the director’s chief preoccupations—social class, the nature of tragic characters, stories set in New York City and the immigrant experience (his autobiographically-influenced 1994 debut, “Little Odessa” centers on a tragic family of Russian Jewish immigrants in Coney Island’s Brighton Beach). Set in early 1920s New York, the drama chronicles a Polish immigrant (played by Marion Cotillard) as she arrives at Ellis Island and is eventually deceived by a charming but wicked hustler (Joaquin Phoenix) who manipulates her into a life of prostitution. Her only form of salvation is a magician (Jeremy Renner) who hopes to take her away from that life. But as much as there are superficial James Gray-esque traits, the movie is actually a bold slow-burner that takes the filmmaker in uncharted directions (read our review from the Cannes Film Festival).

NYFF: Tom Hanks & Paul Greengrass Talk Dramatizing Desperate Real-Life Events In 'Captain Phillips'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 28, 2013 2:12 PM
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Captain Phillips
Paul Greengrass’ harrowing, real-time thriller, “Captain Phillps” just screened at the New York Film Festival yesterday. Just go and hit Twitter and you’re going to see plaudits, raves and yes, even lots of Oscar talk. It’s a terrific piece of filmmaking that's intense, grueling, deeply immersive and even takes pains to humanize the complex lives of its villains (you can read yours truly’s A-grade review right here).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore & Tony Danza Talk Porn & The Sexy 'Don Jon' Plus New Clips & Pics

  • By Chase Whale
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  • September 25, 2013 3:06 PM
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Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson
Porn. Masturbation. Scarlett Johansson acting sexier than ever. A pot-smoking Julianne Moore. Tony Fucking Danza. Sex. Sex. Sex. Everything you’ve always wanted in the directorial debut of boy wonder Joseph Gordon-Levitt is here, and it’s called "Don Jon."

Interview: 'A Single Shot' Star Sam Rockwell Talks His Favorite Genre Films, Marvel Movies, Duncan Jones' 'Mute' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 19, 2013 5:20 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Sam Rockwell is one of those actors whose mere presence in a movie can elicit excitement for a project that could have otherwise easily been written off. No matter what he's in – if it's big budget nonsense like "Charlie's Angels" or something like Duncan Jones' moody, micro-budget "Moon" – Rockwell is sure to turn in a performance that's downright electric (or electrified, maybe). His newest film is "A Single Shot," which opens this weekend (read our review). A twisty, turny film noir about a down-on-his-luck hunter who makes a fatally wrong shot, killing a young woman in the woods, Rockwell is as intense as he usually is goofy, his manic energy turned inward, for a kind of bottled fury. It's quite a performance, especially considering the fine actors he's surrounded by (William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright and Jason Isaacs are among his costars).

Jake Gyllenhaal & Denis Villeneuve Talk The Birth Of Their Intense Collaboration & Its Extension With 'Prisoners'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 19, 2013 4:32 PM
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Prisoners, Jackman, Gyllenhaal, Denis
While it’s been favorably (and superficially) compared to David Fincher’s “Seven,” and “Zodiac,” Warner Bros. dark drama, “Prisoners” is such a different kind of beast that those assessments don’t really capture the essence of this harrowing kidnapping and family drama. Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Academy Award-nominated Foreign Language filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”), perhaps the most apt correlation is the fact that “Prisoners” is the darkest mainstream studio film since Fincher’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” And arguably, it’s much more emotionally bruising as it taps into some extremely haunting primal fears.

Interview: Danai Gurira Talks 'Mother Of George,' The Film's Distinct Look & Working On 'The Walking Dead'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 19, 2013 11:00 AM
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Now playing in limited release, "Mother of George" is one of those tiny movies you should seek out, wherever and however you can. Directed by Andrew Dosunmu ("Restless City"), the film premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was singled out for its sumptuous cinematography by Bradford Young (who also shot "Ain't Them Bodies Saints"). The film concerns a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn who are experiencing some fertility problems, and the emotional fallout that follows. It's not exactly the most chipper of subjects, but Dosunmu draws you into the story, thanks largely to Young's painterly visuals and a lead performance by Danai Gurira (from AMC's highly rated zombie drama "The Walking Dead"). It's the rare drama that stays with you long after the credits have finished rolling, a deeply affected, gorgeously photographed glimpse into a world you likely know nothing about and probably barely knew existed.

Interview: James Wan Talks 'Insidious: Chapter 2,' Expanding The Series' Mythology & Wanting To Make Australia-Set Comedy

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • September 16, 2013 1:18 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Insidious 2, James Wan
A dizzying intersection of three films trails director James Wan as he meets us at the Los Angeles press junket for “Insidious: Chapter 2,” the sequel to his and writer/actor Leigh Whannell’s 2011 hit. Just two weeks prior, he was here promoting “The Conjuring,” and now, he’s battling jet-lag from his time away prepping “Fast and Furious 7” in Atlanta. “I am knee deep in it,” he says of the latest in Universal’s key franchise. “I'm working on it non-stop, not getting any sleep, and yet I'm still wrapping up these [two films] too. My head is exploding.”

Billy Bob Thornton Talks Directing 'Jayne Mansfield's Car' & Looks Back On 'Sling Blade,' 'Armageddon,' 'Bad Santa' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 13, 2013 2:06 PM
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  • 3 Comments
These days, most people think of Billy Bob Thornton as an actor, thanks to his unforgettable performances in pictures like the Coens’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” Sam Raimi’s “A Simple Plan” and Terry Zwigoff’s “Bad Santa,” so much so that it’s easy to forget that Thornton wrote, directed and starred in the Academy-Award winning “Sling Blade” (Best Adapted) and co-wrote genre classics like Carl Franklin’s “One False Move” and Raimi’s “The Gift.” His latest effort as a co-writer, director, and star is “Jayne Mansfield's Car,” which opens today in theaters and on demand, a charming comedic drama about a southern family whose matriarch leaves, marries a man in England, and then dies (you can read our review from Berlin earlier this year here). The movie takes place on the eve of her funeral, with the two families (one stiff-upper-lip, one deep-fried-south) collide.

Interview: Luc Besson Talks Scorsese's Influence On 'The Family,' Returning To Sci-Fi & Not Getting Paid For 'Nikita'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 12, 2013 5:40 PM
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On Friday, Luc Besson, the madcap French filmmaker behind "Nikita," "Leon: The Professional," and "The Fifth Element," takes a break from overseeing his European action genre movie empire to, unleash his newest directorial effort, "The Family." The movie stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as former mobsters sent off to live in Normandy, France, as a very extreme form of witness relocation (Tommy Lee Jones is their gruff FBI handler). Like most of Besson's other concoctions, it veers wildly from extreme violence to maudlin melodrama to broad physical humor, sometimes in the same scene. This is par for the course with Besson.

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