The Playlist

Oliver Stone Says New Cut Of 'Alexander' Will Be "Best Version Yet," Criticizes 'Zero Dark Thirty' & 'The Hurt Locker' & Talks 'Pinkville'

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • July 14, 2013 10:13 AM
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  • 36 Comments
If you hadn't already gathered, Oliver Stone is a stubborn man. This can be a good and not-so-good thing. Confirming what we reported on over a year ago, Oliver Stone discussed his fourth to-be-released cut of "Alexander" at this year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (along with some of his other work and advice on writing and editing). As you might remember, the original movie was a critical and commercial flop, with possibly the most positive review coming from Richard Roeper, who wrote, "It's just a wild, glorious, wacky mess that I found really entertaining."

Karlovy Vary Review: Sophie Huber's Documentary 'Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 7, 2013 7:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments
An enigmatic and perhaps occasionally overly deferential documentary about one of the all-time great character actors, Sophie Huber’s “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” is slow out of the gate, but gently, ever so gently, builds to a thoughtful portrait of a thoughtful man. Stanton, while never less than amiable, is clearly not an easy subject -- “I’ve been doing this for 50 fucking years, being photographed and making movies. After a while I got tired of it.” -- in fact he states up front that he doesn’t like to give much away. And while many of the other interviewees talk about that quality of stillness and silence being one of his great strengths, it does mean he’s not the most forthcoming or garrulous of biographees. But it also lends the stories, when they haltingly come, added impact, whether about his carousing days with ex-housemate and longtime friend Jack Nicholson or when he’s sharing reminiscences with “Cisco Pike” co-star Kris Kristofferson.

Karlovy Vary Review: Felix Van Groeningen's Tribeca & Berlin Favorite 'The Broken Circle Breakdown'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 7, 2013 5:54 PM
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  • 0 Comments
An immaculately observed, desperately moving story of love, loss, and bluegrass music, it's easy to see why Belgian film "The Broken Circle Breakdown" came to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival trailing awards: Best Actress and Best Screenplay from Tribeca and the Audience Award and the Europa Cinemas Award from Berlin. While Felix von Groeningen's film, which centers around a couple whose child is diagnosed with cancer, could easily have strayed into maudlin territory, the deft, non-chronological structure and the constantly surprising, beautiful performances -- both acting and the musical -- elevate it well clear of any Movie of the Week associations.

Karlovy Vary Awards: Ben Wheatley's 'A Field In England' & 'Bluebird' Among Winners

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 6, 2013 4:25 PM
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  • 1 Comment
...and so our short sojourn to the 2013 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival draws to a close. Our time here this year was so brief that we feel guilty in not having seen more of the films In Competition, and across the various diverse and always thoughtfully-stocked sidebars, but now that the awards have been announced, we know we’ll have a starting point for all the catching up we’ve got to do.

Karlovy Vary Review: Berlin Golden Bear Winner 'Child's Pose'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 6, 2013 1:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment
One of the great pleasures of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, aside from its generally friendly atmosphere, and awesome local tipple Becherovka, is that its timing and the breadth of its selection gives us the chance to catch up with films we, for one reason or another, missed at festivals previously. And so it was with Calin Peter Netzer's "Child's Pose," a film that didn't make it onto our radar in advance at all, but then snuck up and took the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale, while we were probably, statistically speaking, in the next theater over watching a James Franco movie.

Karlovy Vary Review: Michel Gondry's 'Mood Indigo'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 6, 2013 8:59 AM
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  • 4 Comments
So if we were to CHROME CARROTS attempt to replicate the PERSPEX LIMO omnipresent inventiveness of TINY MOUSE IN A TINY HOUSE Michel Gondry’s latest film throughout the PIANO THAT MAKES COCKTAILS course of this review, it would SUNLIGHT IS STRING get pretty old, pretty damn RUBIK’S CUBE ORGANISER quick. So we’ll stop while we still have you, which is what we deeply wish Gondry had done. But in “Mood Indigo,” which opened the Karlovy Vary Film Festival last week, the French filmmaker's gonzo homemade aesthetic is off the leash entirely, and he shows no mercy in how much gimcrackery he thinks we can handle.

Karlovy Vary Review: Clio Barnard’s ’The Selfish Giant’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 5, 2013 10:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
We meet Arbor, the troubled young protagonist of Clio Barnard’s second feature “The Selfish Giant" in claustrophobic close-up as he hammers his fists in incoherent rage against the underside of the bed beneath which, we gather, he tends to retreat in times of stress. The violence subsides suddenly though, as he is coaxed out of his hiding place and out of his fit of anger, by big, soft Swifty, his best (only) friend, with whom Arbor shares a certain marginalization -- Arbor is being medicated for an unspecified antisocial disorder; Swifty is bullied and taunted for his traveller background. Marking the shift from verbal and physical violence and harshness, to a sort of grounded lyricism (a shift the film makes successfully time and again), this squally opening scene ends with a calm detail of the boys’ clasped hands, which we will return to later in different and wrenchingly tragic circumstances. It’s a gripping beginning to this passionately felt and astonishingly acted film, which shares a lot of DNA with the modern British social realist movies of Barnard’s contemporaries Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay.

Karlovy Vary Review: Ben Wheatley's 'A Field In England'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 4, 2013 3:46 PM
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  • 15 Comments
A Field In England
Imagine attempting a super-low-budget, rapidly shot mashup of the melancholic aesthetic of Ingmar Bergman, the comedic sensibility of Mel Brooks and the tonal uneasiness of Lars Von Trier -- you'd probably end up with a complete mess of a film. However, that's not the case for Ben Wheatley, whose willfully abstruse "A Field in England" more or less fits that bill (by way of Samuel Beckett, "The Wicker Man" and Sergio Leone, if you want to fine tune the comparison, but we could probably continue throwing names at it all day and finding most of them stick) and comes out as a totally unique, often brilliant, deliberate partial mess instead. Reteaming the director, who, off the back of his feature triptych of "Down Terrace," "Kill List" and "Sightseers" has become something of an indie phenomenon, with regular writer Amy Jump, the film is the most formally experimental, and probably the least approachable, of the director's titles to date. But it's further proof of Wheatley's singular sensibilities as a filmmaker: the film's dark comedy, occasional gory violence and constant profanity are immediately recognizable as hallmarks, even as the black and white cinematography (often very beautiful), period setting and parable-like feel sees him move into new, uncharted territory.

Karlovy Vary Review: ’The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 4, 2013 9:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
“That’s going straight in the scrapbook” says director Shane Meadows early on in his music documentary “The Stone Roses: Made of Stone” which played at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival today, having already opened in early June in the U.K. and Ireland. He’s referring to a scribbled note left to him by one of the band members about something incidental, and his endearing awe at having this personalized piece of the One True Cross in his hands is indicative of his approach to the material overall -- sometimes for the charming better but occasionally for the enervating worse. Here Meadows is fan first and director second, and while the film will no doubt satisfy and engage even dormant Stone Roses fans, those coming to it expecting a little more of Meadows’ distinctive authorial imprint, or, really anything beyond a standard and rather conventional rise-and-fall-and-rise-again narrative may be disappointed.

6 Personal Highlights From The Film Festivals Of 2012

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 28, 2012 12:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
We're generally anti-navelgazing here at The Playlist, but being the end of the year, it can't really be avoided. As we continue to take a look back at the cinematic year of 2012, we're trying to shake things up and keep things fresh outside of the usual Best/Worst lists. This year saw The Playlist making a presence around the world at more than a handful of festivals. And while you've already read our reviews and news, we thought we'd give you a taste of the experience of attending these festivals. Even if you can't make Cannes or board a flight to Marrakech, we hope this helps in translating what it's like to run around a foreign country with nothing more than a laptop and a love of cinema. So, without further ado, here are six personal highlights from the various film festivals in 2012 we attended.

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