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The Playlist

LAFF Review: Debra Granik's Doc 'Stray Dog' A Sensitive Portrait of Memory, Trauma, and Biker Culture

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • June 16, 2014 3:25 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Stray Dog, documentary
When “Winter’s Bone” writer and director Debra Granik ventured to Missouri to make the film, she returned with more than she expected — the subject of her next film, in the form of Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, a biker and Vietnam vet with a heart of gold and a head full of nightmares. Granik brings an un-showy, observational documentary style to this intimate look at Stray Dog’s life, navigating his trusty Harley along Missouri’s open road, with his new Mexican wife, Alicia, riding on the back of the bike.

Exclusive: First Clip & Poster For LAFF Film 'Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 16, 2014 2:10 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey
There's no word that suits Hal Holbrook better than 'legend.' The 89-year-old actor and veteran has a career stretching back sixty years, with a long history of movie roles (most famously playing Deep Throat in "All The President's Men"), and continues to work regularly today, winning an Oscar nomination for his part in "Into The Wild," and currently appearing on acclaimed TV series "Rectify."

LAFF Review: Jess Weixler And Jennifer Prediger’s ‘Trouble Dolls’ Finds More Drama Than Laughs In Superstition

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 16, 2014 10:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Trouble Dolls
A general rule of thumb: if Jeffrey Tambor appears in one or two scenes out of a film, it’s a safe bet those are the best one or two scenes overall. As a trespassing landlord fond of tenant hookups and unannounced showers in their homes, Tambor all but runs away with “Trouble Dolls,” the writing and directorial debut of Jess Weixler (“Teeth”) and Jennifer Prediger (“A Teacher”), but his scenes prove damaging—they bookend the film, leaving 80 minutes of fitfully wry and unusual humor in between.

LAFF Review: 'Echo Park' Proves The Perfect Place to Get Lost And Find Yourself

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • June 15, 2014 11:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
In “Echo Park,” photographer Amanda Marsalis, making her feature directorial debut (with a script written by Catalina Aguilar Mastretta), paints a love letter of sorts to the titular Los Angeles neighborhood, interwoven with the tale of love lost and found between two souls searching for their place. Sophie (Mamie Gummer), is an unhappy Beverly Hills Housewife-to-be when she unceremoniously cuts herself loose from her predictable life and decamps across town to the hipster hood of Echo Park. In her new neighborhood, she gets more than she expected when meeting Alex (Tony Okungbowa) to buy his couch. He’s moving back to London, you see, and the two fall into the kind of easy and deep intimacy that happens when there’s no risk of long term commitment.

LAFF Exclusive: Poster Debut for Nathan Silver's Latest 'Uncertain Terms'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • June 15, 2014 10:12 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Uncertain Terms
The 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival (the 20th anniversary of the fest) kicked off this week, with the North American premiere of "Snowpiercer" on Wednesday. Plenty of other notable premieres are continuing to roll out this weekend, including Nathan Silver's latest, "Uncertain Terms," and we've got the exclusive poster debut in advance of its premiere later today.

LAFF Review: ‘Billy Mize And The Bakersfield Sound’ Is A Warm Look At One Of Country Music’s Hidden Titans

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 14, 2014 7:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
While the musical biopic today suffers from inescapable story arcs and tired imitations, thankfully a good story remains that way when told by those who actually lived it. Consider well-made music docs a personal sweet spot -- a blend of archival footage, a famous record, and an aged, accented character explaining how, when they tweaked a guitar amp then threw it down a city sewer, the song’s tone really took off. “Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound” adopts this path, charting the rise of a unique style in the mid-‘50s Southern California country scene, but more importantly it highlights one of the pivotal figures that helped it thrive.

LAFF Review: ‘The Ever After’ Starring Teresa Palmer & Mark Webber An Unwieldy, Tense Look At A Marriage

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • June 13, 2014 4:55 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The Ever After, Teresa Palmer
A relentless self-exploration has steered actor and director Mark Webber’s filmmaking output, and increasingly it seems his preferred route of doing so is through quotation marks. Last year’s “The End of Love” starred Webber as “Mark,” an actor struggling in LA with his real-life son Isaac, and now—with a new romance and marriage to “Warm Bodies” actress Teresa Palmer—here arrives “The Ever After,” a similarly self-reflexive look at marriage hiding a dark undercurrent of anxiety and abuse.

L.A. Film Festival Exclusive: Clip From Prison Escape Artist Documentary 'The Life And Mind Of Mark DeFriest'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 22, 2014 10:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The Life And Mind Of Mark DeFriest
There are a few ways you can spend your time in prison: putting your head down and doing the time, fighting the system that put you there in the first place or simply trying to find a way to survive. But for Mark DeFriest, he spent his time behind bars concocting ways to break out. And his fascinating story is coming in the documentary "The Life And Mind Of Mark DeFriest."

Bong Joon-Ho's ‘Snowpiercer’ Will Open The L.A. Film Festival On June 11th

  • By Edward Davis
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  • April 1, 2014 3:32 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Snowpiercer
I can’t remember the last time the media squawked so hard over a movie. It seemed like there was two years of fighting over “Snowpiercer,” Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi thriller that’s been seen over most of the world and not North America. Harvey Weinstein owns the right and there was a protracted battle over the length of the movie that had bloggers crying foul over his “Scissorhands” ways.

L.A. Film Fest Review: 'In A World...' Directed By & Starring Lake Bell

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • June 18, 2013 11:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Lake Bell, In A World
In a world... where female writers are scarce and female writer/directors even more so, Lake Bell has done both with panache in her feature debut, “In A World...” That the film itself is a meta-commentary on the persistent and open sexism in Hollywood is even more impressive. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s funny to boot.

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