The Playlist

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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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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"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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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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​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).

NYFF Review: 'My Name Is Hmm' Might Make A Good Art Installation, But Doesn't Work As A Film

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 1, 2013 6:36 PM
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'My Name Is Hmm
Treading the line between art installation and actual motion picture, “My Name Is Hmm” represents the directorial debut of fashion designer agnes b.. That is to say, it is “a film by Agnes Trouble aka agnes b.,” an intimate touch but one that suggests a difficulty regarding point-of-view. The onomatopoeia in the title should also tip you off that this is one of those pictures about exploring: the fashion mogul feels as if she’s learning bit by bit how to tell a story cinematically, how to complete transitions and flash back and forward, how to set a mood and tempo. It’s basically the rough cut of a student film which, to its credit, is also often more interesting than most student films outright.

NYFF Review: Steve Coogan Brings His Beloved 'Alan Partridge' To The Big Screen With Mixed Results

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 30, 2013 10:07 AM
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Alan Partridge
Back in 1994, a movie called “Airheads,” about a trio of bumbling stooges (played by Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and a goateed Steve Buscemi) who take over a radio station in order for their demo to get played over the airwaves, was released to, more or less, a critical and commercial shrug. In the years since, however, the film, richly stockpiled with ‘90s nostalgia (including an appearance by White Zombie and a vocal cameo by Mike Judge as Beavis & Butthead), has earned a loyal cult following. It’s hard not to imagine the same fate for “Alan Partridge” (entitled “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa” in its native U.K.), at least in the United States. It’s a movie with a strikingly similar premise but based on a beloved British radio and television character (played, with relish, by Steve Coogan), who is all but unknown here. That stateside obscurity could change after “Alan Partridge,” but we kind of doubt it.

NYFF: Tom Hanks & Paul Greengrass Talk Dramatizing Desperate Real-Life Events In 'Captain Phillips'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 28, 2013 2:12 PM
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Captain Phillips
Paul Greengrass’ harrowing, real-time thriller, “Captain Phillps” just screened at the New York Film Festival yesterday. Just go and hit Twitter and you’re going to see plaudits, raves and yes, even lots of Oscar talk. It’s a terrific piece of filmmaking that's intense, grueling, deeply immersive and even takes pains to humanize the complex lives of its villains (you can read yours truly’s A-grade review right here).

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