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NYFF: Steve McQueen Talks '12 Years A Slave,' Michael Fassbender & More Plus Watch Full Q&A

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • October 10, 2013 3:11 PM
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  • 5 Comments
12 Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" is one of the most buzzed about films this year. Based on the true story of Solomon Northup and helmed by the director behind "Hunger" and "Shame," the film follows an African American free man who in 1841 was kidnapped and forced into slavery. There's been a lot of talk already about the film being a shoe-in for a few Academy Awards. Our own critic-on-the-ground at Telluride Chris Wellman wrote, "....it quickly became apparent that leading man Chiwetel Ejiofor had moved to the head of the line of best actor candidates, with [Michael] Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o sure to contend in the supporting categories. Even those of us who aren’t Oscar bloggers should break out whatever mnemonic devices we need to immediately commit Ejiofor’s and Nyong'o’s names to the tips of our tongues."

NYFF: Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern & Will Forte Talk The Particular Tone Of ‘Nebraska’

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 9, 2013 4:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Nebraska, Bruce Dern, Payne
An alcoholic father suffering from the early onsets of dementia gets a sweepstakes notice that he’s won a million dollars. It’s a scam obviously, but the elderly man is determined to see it through, despite his wife and older son’s protests to the contrary. What’s the youngest son to do? Perhaps trying to relate and bond on a level they’ve never connected before, as he agrees to drive his father from Montana to Nebraska to track down the prize, but many detours await, including a protracted pit stop in his dad’s hometown.

"I Just Needed To Know You Weren't Nuts": Robert Redford Talks Making The Bold 'All Is Lost' With J.C. Chandor

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 9, 2013 2:25 PM
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  • 6 Comments
All Is Lost, Robert Redford
Yesterday at the New York Film Festival, director J.C. Chandor revealed one of the best pictures of the fest: "All Is Lost." A masterful and tense drama that immediately elevates the "Margin Call" filmmaker from a promising indie director to a promising new auteur, who is one to watch from now on. "All Is Lost," is not only soulful and moving, its an incredible achievement. Boldly austere and silent, the drama chronicles a resourceful sailor, who after a collision with a shipping container in the Indian ocean, finds himself staring his mortality in the face despite all his best efforts.

NYFF: Claire Denis Talks 'Bastards,' The Restriction Of Dialogue & More Plus Watch Full Festival Q&A

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • October 7, 2013 3:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Claire Denis
"Bastards" is one of the most divisive films to his the festival circuit this year. Our own Jessica Kiang reviewed the film at Cannes and wrote that the Un Certain Regard film "has so far not so much divided as cleaved" audiences. We saw it on Friday at the New York Film Festival and would have to agree that it certainly will make you feel strongly one way or the other (and you won't look at a corncob the same way again). Whether you love it or leave the theater with distaste, there's no denying that Claire Denis is a filmmaker who can evoke very forceful emotions. Right after the screening, Denis sat down with Kent Jones and discussed the controversial film, the restriction of dialogue, the portrayal of women as victims, and much more.

NYFF: James Gray Almost Appeared In Wes Anderson’s ‘The Life Aquatic,’ Talks ‘The Immigrant' With Joaquin Phoenix

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 7, 2013 2:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
The Immigrant, Gray, Phoenix, set pic
The highlight of the New York Film Festival post-screening Q&A for “The Immigrant," director James Gray's long-awaited period film, was the unlikely and rare appearance of the notoriously evasive Joaquin Phoenix. And while the press shy actor nearly stole the show from his entertaining director, funny and amusing in his own right, Phoenix did it by hardly uttering a word.

NYFF: Ben Stiller Discusses Going Analog To Digital In 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' Plus Watch Full Press Conference

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 7, 2013 11:34 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
“I remember my first conversation [with writer Steve Conrad] where he said, 'Every American male yearns to be on the cover of a Wheaties box,' ” says John Goldwyn, the producer of “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.” Speaking with the New York Film Festival crowd, he helped present the film’s world premiere over the weekend (our review), though it was a long time coming. The fantasy film, based on the 1939 short story by James Thurber, runs in the family: it was Goldwyn’s grandfather Samuel Goldwyn who produced the original 1947 Danny Kaye adaptation, and had worked to bring a newer incarnation to the big screen.

NYFF Review: Ben Stiller's 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' Co-Starring Kristen Wiig

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 5, 2013 7:17 PM
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  • 25 Comments
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
In a colorless and unremarkable New York apartment, the shy, anonymous Walter Mitty stares at the eHarmony dating page of his co-worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). Debating whether or not to make the online first move, Walter eventually daydreams about a spectacular manner in which to impress her. But back in reality, the question remains: can the timid man send the social networking equivalent of a hello to the girl he has a crush on? If he does have the chutzpah to do so, will the complexities of life and fate manage to interfere? Will Walter be able to seize the day and “just do it” like Nike might have asserted him to do a few decades ago? (Bear with me.)

NYFF Review: Documentary 'American Promise' A Flawed, Yet Fascinating Look At Coming Of Age

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 5, 2013 3:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Raising a child seems to be both an act of love and faith. You provide the absolute best you can for them, and then hope and trust that you've put them on a path that will lead to the kind of rich and fulfilling life you want them to have. But even in a situation where seemingly nothing is left to chance, and only the finest opportunities are afforded, so much is decided by chance and fate. And the expectations that parents place in their children, and the dreams that children envision for themselves, can often diverge. Watching your child grow, is a continual act of acceptance and renewal of love of who that child has become. And all of this is observed in Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson's "American Promise," in which the filmmakers take a page from "Hoop Dreams," turning the camera on their own son Idris and his best friend Seun, and tracking their education and lives from grade school through graduation.

NYFF: Cate Blanchett Talks The "Quasi-Religious Experience" Of Working With Terrence Malick, Woody Allen & More

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • October 5, 2013 12:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Taking a "break" from shooting Kenneth Branagh's "Cinderella" in London, Cate Blanchett walked on the stage of Alice Tully Hall Wednesday night dripping in Hollywood glamor (immediately after an exclusive invite-only dinner in her honor) and sat down with NYFF programming director Kent Jones as part of the festival's Gala tribute to her career. As the discussion got underway, the stunning and humorously self-effacing Blanchett spoke about her experiences working with highly esteemed directors (Allen, Malick, Scorsese ...), her first paying acting gig (for five Egyptian pounds and free falafel—"I only have one anecdote and that was it") and her children's hopes that someday she will be in a blockbuster ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull"?).

NYFF: James Gray Talks Writing For Marion Cotillard & The Cinematic Influences Of ‘The Immigrant’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 3, 2013 4:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
​On the surface, filmmaker James Gray’s fifth film, “The Immigrant,” is steeped in the tradition of the director’s chief preoccupations—social class, the nature of tragic characters, stories set in New York City and the immigrant experience (his autobiographically-influenced 1994 debut, “Little Odessa” centers on a tragic family of Russian Jewish immigrants in Coney Island’s Brighton Beach). Set in early 1920s New York, the drama chronicles a Polish immigrant (played by Marion Cotillard) as she arrives at Ellis Island and is eventually deceived by a charming but wicked hustler (Joaquin Phoenix) who manipulates her into a life of prostitution. Her only form of salvation is a magician (Jeremy Renner) who hopes to take her away from that life. But as much as there are superficial James Gray-esque traits, the movie is actually a bold slow-burner that takes the filmmaker in uncharted directions (read our review from the Cannes Film Festival).

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