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The Playlist

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).

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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  • 0 Comments
'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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  • 4 Comments
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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  • 0 Comments
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).

NYFF: The Coen Brothers' Say 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Is Likely Their Last Movie To Be Shot On Film

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 27, 2013 12:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The Coen Brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis
It looks like Joel and Ethan Coen are moving away from film and into digital. And if you ask the filmmakers, who saw their “Inside Llewyn Davis” screen for press at the New York Film Festival yesterday (our review), it's something they're half-heartedly embracing. “I have to say I’m not wildly enthusiastic about the idea,” Joel told press. “This movie was shot on film for a couple of reasons. We were working with a DP whom we had done one small thing with in the past. [DP] Bruno [Delbonnel] had also not shot anything with a digital camera before, and we discussed that would be one more complicated factor in our relationship with a DP. It’s all a hybrid thing now because it all goes into a box, it goes into a computer, and gets heavily manipulated. But it’s probable that the next one we shot will be done digitally."

NYFF Review: Paul Greengrass Takes You Hostage In The Desperately Harrowing ‘Captain Phillips’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 27, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Captain Phillips
Comparing oranges and apples tends not to be conducive to any critical discourse, but to get something off my chest that I can’t shake (and hopefully provides some convincing context), in the fall sweepstakes to create the most gripping, immersive and emotionally resonant survival tale, Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips” has the surprisingly thematically similar “Gravity” licked. With apologies to Alfonso Cuaron’s film, which I enjoyed, the buzzier effort may be an enveloping visual tour-de-force, but the one (wo)man-against-the-universe endurance saga in space lacks in character development and genuinely convincing emotional stakes. These are not, however, narrative areas that “Captain Phillips” is deficient in. In fact, its character and rich emotional layers are what elevates the film from a precisely-told absorbing thriller into something much more potent and powerful: a breathtakingly harrowing tale of survival and grueling desperation that redefines the term “nailbiter.”

NYFF Review: Time Travel Rom-Com 'About Time' Starring Rachel McAdams & Domnhall Gleeson

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 23, 2013 11:07 AM
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  • 30 Comments
We’ve sat through an entire generation of fantasy and science fiction films about a protagonist gifted with extraordinary powers who first Resists, then Accepts The Call, which almost always involves saving the world, defeating a powerful villain, and re-establishing the status quo. Very rarely does anyone seek a cause beyond preventing the apocalypse, placing them within a narrative where they are rewarded not for being proactive, but rather reacting to the latest large-scale disaster. Imagine where we’d be as a film society today if Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker fully dedicated himself to wrestling. Right off the bat, the young lad at the center of Richard Curtis’ “About Time” does what any of us would do if we were gifted with extraordinary powers: he tries to romance Rachel McAdams.

'12 Years A Slave' Adds New York To Fall Festival Run

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 30, 2013 12:12 PM
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  • 4 Comments
12 Years A Slave
We hope Steve McQueen packed some extra socks and underwear. Hitting Telluride this weekend to present "12 Years A Slave" (where it's pretty much guaranteed to sneak preview, apparently today) and then heading to TIFF next week to unspool the movie on Canadian soil, the director will then head to New York City for the New York Film Festival.

Restored Films By Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Ray, Alain Resnais & More Headed To New York Film Festival 2013

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 26, 2013 4:19 PM
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  • 2 Comments
No sleep for cinephiles as the fall festival season keeps stacking one enticing movie upon another. In case you thought it was only new movies worth paying attention to, guess again, as the New York Film Festival has unveiled a slate of restored films (along with with their Documentary, Applied Science and How Democracy Works Now programming) that will be heavenly manna for those looking to check out classic films in crisp new editions.

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