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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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  • 1 Comment
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: 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.

Watch: 70 Minute Master Class With William Friedkin

  • By Cain Rodriguez
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  • July 15, 2014 12:26 PM
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  • 3 Comments
As you’ve probably heard by now, we caught up with William Friedkin at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last week where he revealed he’s had a meeting with “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto about working on season two—we’ll have the full interview for you soon. While we wait to see how the directing situation for the HBO show pans out, it’s the perfect opportunity to sit in on a master class Friedkin conducted at the festival.

Karlovy Vary Review: Multiple Venice Winner ‘Still Life’ Starring Eddie Marsan

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 14, 2014 6:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Still Life
Not wishing to start off on a total downer, let us say that for much of its running time, “Still Life” is just about bearable. Now that’s partly because, catching up with the four-time Venice award-winner [drops to knees, bellows “Why?” at the heavens] at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, we had started off well-disposed toward it. Not only did the Uberto Pasolini film (not to be confused with the 2006 Jia Zhang-ke film of the same name which also won at Venice) trail those laurels, but lead Eddie Marsan had just picked up Best Actor in a British Film in Edinburgh, and anyway, Marsan is one of our very favorite character actors, so the chance to see him take on such an inarguably central role was enticing. But only too soon the film wore our goodwill down to a tiny nub, with maudlin moment piling on mawkish turn, drenched in a minor-key Rachel Portman score so twee and sentimentalized that the obvious comparison would be an insult to syrup.

Karlovy Vary Review: Concert Movie ‘Björk: Biophilia Live’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 14, 2014 12:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Bjork: Biophilia Live
For better or worse, we do approach any new project from impish Icelandic enchantress Björk with an expectation of weird. And it’s an expectation that her Biophilia album and concert tour, of which this film is a record, clearly delivered on. Prologued by a David Attenborough voiceover, it's really an exhilarating, sometimes mystifying extended riff on one major theme: we are on the brink of a revolution that exists at the creative nexus of nature, music and technology.

Karlovy Vary Review: Beautiful, Atmospheric Debut ‘Violent’ From Canadian Musician Andrew Huculiak

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 11, 2014 12:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Violent
On the surface, there’s no real reason why “Violent,” the debut feature film from Canadian director Andrew Huculiak, should be set so specifically in Norway, and be led by a Norwegian actress whose dialogue and voiced-over thoughts are also in Norwegian. But as the film draws you in, or rather quietly casts its heady spell of sound and atmosphere around you, that eccentric choice begins to make a compelling kind of sense. Not only does Huculiak’s outsider’s eye give rise to some extraordinary cinematography (via DP, editor and co-writer Joseph Schweers), of Norway’s countryside, towns and cities, but thematically too it feels like, standing at this deliberate remove, the filmmakers can more easily shift between subjective, intimate moments and the broader, ontological themes they illustrate.

'Calvary' Director John Michael McDonagh In Talks With Guy Pearce For Next Film ’War On Everyone’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 10, 2014 2:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Guy Pearce Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
EXCLUSIVE: The U.S. may have a few more weeks to wait before “Calvary” opens on August 1st (our review is here meantime), but we were lucky enough to get to meet the director, John Michael McDonagh, of “The Guard” and “brother of playwright and director Martin” fame, at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. A lot of what we chatted about was more germane to “Calvary” and so we’ll save that up for a date closer to August, but McDonagh was also extremely forthcoming about the other projects on his horizon, and included a little bit of new casting information for his next directorial outing “War On Everyone.”

Karlovy Vary Review: David Lambert’s Sexually Frank, Emotionally Wise ‘All Yours’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 9, 2014 1:31 PM
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  • 1 Comment
All Yours
A truncated stay has meant we haven’t been able to see as many competition titles here at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival as we would have liked, but we can say it got off to a very promising start with this small-scale serio-comic drama, the second feature from “Beyond the Walls” director David Lambert. From the potentially grim premise of a young Argentinian man in such dire straits and with such a lack of prospects that he offers himself via the internet to anyone who will send him a plane ticket, the film then spins off into surprisingly gentle, non-judgy, non-cautionary tale directions, albeit sprinkled with some fairly graphic sex scenes, mostly gay, occasionally straight.

Exclusive: William Friedkin Has Met With 'True Detective' Creator Nic Pizzolatto, Potentially In Mix For Season 2

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 9, 2014 9:03 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Today at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival we got to sit down with the wonderfully forthcoming William Friedkin, recipient of an honorary award here. He was as full of anecdotes and tidbits as ever, and we'll have the full interview for you soon, but one item he shared with us, is that his involvement with "True Detective" Season 2 might be a little more than the pie-in-the-sky dream casting that we did back in March.

Karlovy Vary Review: ‘Little Accidents’ Starring Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloe Sevigny And Jacob Lofland

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 8, 2014 4:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Little Accidents Lofland
It’s no surprise that “Little Accidents,” which played at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival tonight for press, was a Sundance premiere: as a directorial debut from a promising new U.S.-based director, with a roster of reliable indie actors plus the added gloss of the higher-profile Banks in the mix, set against the backdrop of a hardscrabble mining town, led by a child protagonist and promising a minutely observed morality play, it ticks a whole warehouse full of “Sundance movie” boxes. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but in the case of Sara Colangelo’s first film, it is certainly a very familiar one.

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