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The Playlist

Spielberg Chased Daniel Day-Lewis For 9 Years, Wanted Him Before Liam Neeson To Play ‘Lincoln' & More About The Film

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 7, 2012 1:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Now that President Obama is back for a second term, some Oscar pundits are claiming Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the titular leader, is a shoo-in lock for a Best Picture win at the Oscars. We wouldn’t go that far, but the political drama, which hit theaters this weekend, is certainly going to be up for a handful of Oscar nominations at the very least.

Interview: Sam Mendes Talks Directing 'Skyfall,' Pursuing Javier Bardem For The Villain & Misconceptions About The Bond Producers' Control

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 6, 2012 2:52 PM
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  • 7 Comments
This weekend, "Skyfall" is unleashed on cinemas nationwide. Almost from the very first sequence you will realize this is a very, very James Bond movie, and although it's the third in the Daniel Craig series, "Skyfall" almost feels like a hard reboot of the entire franchise, with winking nods to the previous entries and some bold expansion in other areas. The film is also laced with both melancholy and humor, both of which were absent in the hard-driven previous two.

Interview: Writer/Director Ben Lewin Talks Uncovering The Amazing True Story Of 'The Sessions' And Casting John Hawkes

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 22, 2012 12:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Sundance likes nothing more than an overnight success. Countless directors have, over the thirty-odd years of the festival, gone from total unknowns to the hot new thing, and they're usually some fresh-faced whippersapper, relatively speaking. This year's festival had one of those, in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" director Benh Zeitlin, but it also had, in the shape of "The Sessions" helmer Ben Lewin, a rather more atypical overnight success, as Lewin is a 65-year-old filmmaker with credits stretching back nearly four decades.

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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  • 0 Comments
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 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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  • 0 Comments
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.

Derek Cianfrance Talks The Pain Of Editing, The Influence Of 'Napoleon' & 'Psycho' & More In 'Place Beyond The Pines'

  • By Edward Davis
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  • September 14, 2012 2:57 PM
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  • 2 Comments
“I'm interested in telling stories about families,” Derek Cianfrance, the director of “The Place Beyond The Pines,” said this week during the Toronto International Film Festival, where his hotly anticipated drama finally premiered to much acclaim. Cianfrance stormed Sundance in 1998 with “Brother Tied,” a picture that was critically acclaimed at the festival, but then vanished afterwards. It wasn’t until twelve years later that he returned with his sophomore feature effort, “Blue Valentine,” a searing family drama about a marriage in irreparable decay, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, which put him squarely back on the map.

'Smashed' Star Mary Elizabeth Winstead Says Album With Dan The Automator Will Be '60s-Style French Pop

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 13, 2012 12:29 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Already a geek idol thanks to her role as Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead is having a pretty good 2012, thanks to her starring role in "Smashed," a drama about a young alcoholic married couple (completed by "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul), which won rave reviews at Sundance this year -- read our own here -- and continued when the film played the Toronto International Film Festival this week.

Joe Wright Says He Wanted To Work With Keira Knightley Again & "Challenge" The Conventions Of Naturalism In The Stylized 'Anna Karenina'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 11, 2012 4:35 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Near the eleventh hour of pre-production, while director Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Hanna”) was preparing to shoot his adaptation of “Anna Karenina,” it became clear that the budget was going to be an issue -- plans to shoot on location were causing the film’s budget to double in cost. As such, Wright and his team had to quickly rethink the picture. As it turns out, they reimagined it with ideas that had been simmering in the filmmaker’s mind for quite some time.

Interview: Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing Talk Detroit And Their Film 'Detropia'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • September 7, 2012 4:40 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Once a bustling city and your one-stop shop for American automobile manufacturing, Detroit is now a shadow of its former, glorious self. It's broke, the former lucrative auto industry employ very few, and the neighborhoods are generally lined with empty, abandoned houses. Lifelong inhabitants retain hope and fight for the place they call home, but it seems like the area is facing a steady, unyielding decline.

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