The Playlist

Watch: Trailer For Christian Bale & Zhang Yimou’s Oscar Contending ‘The Flowers Of War’

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 20, 2011 4:52 AM
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  • 10 Comments
After winning his first Oscar last year for "The Fighter," can Christian Bale make it a repeat this year? Judging by the first international trailer for Zhang Yimou's Oscar-contending "The Flowers Of War," we somehow doubt it, but the scale of the film does look impressive even if the tone seems somewhat uneven.

Review: 'Le Havre' Another Hilarious, Humane & Moving Film From Aki Kaurismaki

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 20, 2011 4:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The following is a reprint of our review from Cannes.

VIFF '11: Lo-Fi Puppets And A Big, Hilarious Heart; 'Kooky' Is Destined To Be A Family Cult Classic

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • October 20, 2011 1:54 AM
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  • 3 Comments
In many ways, “Kooky” harkens back to the halcyon days of yore (read: in particular the ‘80s) when things were scary in kids’ movies. Or maybe we're just starting to show our old age, but didn't it seem like filmmakers back then were unafraid to at least hint at the possibility of actual threat and potential harm to characters, if not follow through on it completely? It was certainly a different time. Maybe they were untethered by the whims of insanely over-protective parents and ludicrous MPAA ratings strictures that insist on rounding off every sharp edge, creating a bland cinematic landscape these days that all-too-often wears down a movie for families to a pathetic, sanitized nub.

NYFF '11 Review: 'Play' Is A Confident, Complex Look At Social Issues In Sweden

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 19, 2011 12:58 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Festivals can be a great place to discover new, brilliant cinema, but often times the unknown films get drowned out by the heavily buzzed or the latest by a longstanding director. How many of us at the New York Film Festival saw "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "The Kid with a Bike" but, for whatever reason, happened to miss out on "The Loneliest Planet"? It's highly likely that this writer isn't alone. Still, one person generally can't see everything a festival has to offer, so flicks that don't have Palme d'Or helmers behind them or a truckload of auspicious praise for their "breakout performer" tend to get shafted. Still, it's a must to attend those we know nothing about. Besides the fact that they deserve it, they also have something those lauded ones don't: the ability to surprise; for the viewer to go in blind and be completely taken without having known a thing about its cast or the curriculum vitae of the filmmaker. With movie news at the click of a button and various media available all over the web, this is a rare occurrence. We've had a few very pleasant whammies this year, from the social/political critiquing "Policeman" to the sweet "Corpo Celeste," and we're happy to add Ruben Östlund's "Play" to that trust.

VIFF '11: In Belgian 'Bullhead' Sympathy For The Devil Is A Mark Of Quality

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • October 19, 2011 11:55 AM
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  • 1 Comment
“No matter what you do or think, one thing is for sure, you’re always fucked. Now, tomorrow, next week or next year, until the end of time, fucked.”

LFF '11 Review: Nasty Nordic Thriller 'Headhunters' Doesn't Have The Courage Of Its Convictions

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 18, 2011 7:07 AM
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  • 1 Comment
For fans of the crime genre, both on the page and on the screen, Scandinavia has been the hottest source of new material in recent years (although obviously not literally). Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy was a huge bestseller worldwide, and has already provided three Swedish films and David Fincher's upcoming remake "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," while Kenneth Branagh has had great success on TV as Henning Mankell's "Wallander," and Danish series "The Killing" proved a huge hit at home and in the U.K, and was remade on AMC under the same name.

VIFF '11: 'Elena' Is A Dramatic Masterwork From Russian Director Andrey Zvyagintsev

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • October 18, 2011 2:57 AM
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  • 7 Comments
For this writer, there are fewer things in cinema more satisfying than a filmmaker in total control of their story. Sure, we love the visceral thrill of a well-choreographed, impeccably staged action sequence as much as the next red-blooded human being. And there’s the perfect combination of song/score over moving images, blissful moments heightened through all the tools available in the medium. But then there are those rare moments when a film has just begun, and the feeling sets in immediately that you’re in good hands; that no matter what happens in this film, you can trust the filmmaker has thought everything through and knows what he or she is doing. It’s a good feeling. Comforting even. But it’s rare.

Watch: Delightfully Odd New Trailer For Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘Alps’

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 17, 2011 1:37 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Update: KinoLober has picked up the U.S. rights "Alps" with plans to release it in spring 2012. Also there is a new clip from the film courtesy of Flix below.

Box Office: Slow Weekend As '80s Remakes 'Footloose' & 'The Thing' Open Soft; 'Real Steel' Stays #1

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 16, 2011 3:40 AM
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  • 7 Comments
You put out one remake of an '80s movie during a slow weekend, and it’s not a big deal. You put out remakes of two niche early '80s hits on the same weekend, and audiences get the message. This weekend was the clearest example yet of studios offering reheated product, one of which was remains in public memory as a punch line, the other as a cult classic that was ignored by critics and audiences upon its initial release. At least they weren’t expensive.

NYFF '11: 'Kid With A Bike' Directors The Dardennes Say They Originally Planned A Different Ending

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 15, 2011 7:27 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Reveal That Holly Hunter Is One Of The Hollywood Stars Who Has Expressed Interest In Working With Them What can be said about the Dardenne brothers that five Cannes awards don't already say much more definitively? Even a mediocre splotch in their oeuvre is twelve notches above most other contemporary films that get paraded around on the blogosphere.

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