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NYFF Review: Alain Resnais Makes A Delightful Final Film With 'You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!'

  • By Peter Labuza
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  • October 2, 2012 11:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Alain Resnais is no stranger to the absurd. For over fifty years, his films—beginning with “Hiroshima, Mon Amour,” have asked questions through their oblique narratives about the way we think about story, performance, and cinema. But such a serious statement also obscures the pure delight it is to get lost in the filmmaker’s lush imagery and his pure sense of magic. Surrealism can spark at any moment, and never feels unnatural. And in “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!,” the filmmaker’s purported last film, he’s gone to new wild imaginations of delight, a true send off from one generation of cinematic legends to the next.

NYFF Review: 'Barbara' A Fresh Look Into 1980s Germany, Focusing On Life & Love

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 1, 2012 12:58 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Though maybe a bit too stiff and straight-laced, "Barbara" is a frequently subtle, moderately interesting character study set in a grievous East Germany during the 1980s. What are especially nice are the painstaking ways that director Christian Petzold ("Jerichow," "Dreileben: Beats Being Dead") avoids obvious nods to the time period -- forget drenching the film in some kind of filter as a signifier (a la the once-abused-now-Instagram-friendly sepiatone), the filmmaker even refuses simple explanatory title cards and instead dresses the environment appropriately, offering hints of the current year in the background set pieces and radio programs. This kind of understated nature runs the entire feature; in fact, one of the most intriguing aspects of "Barbara" is the lack of narrative hand-holding, with the lead's main intent remaining a mystery for a good chunk of the movie. There are no twists to spoil, but admittedly, much of the film's pull anchors on its masterful use of low-key storytelling -- take a gander at the next paragraph at your own risk.

Review: Joe Dante Can't Quite Recapture His Earlier Magic With 'The Hole'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 29, 2012 12:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Some directors are simply in the right place at the right time. This is why Tim Burton has spent the last decade recycling the same ideas, visuals and motifs to ever-diminishing returns with ever-escalating budgets. Surely Burton would not be where he was had the ever-underestimated Joe Dante not turned down directing “Batman” in the late '80s, citing the self-awareness that has eluded Burton his entire career: Dante famously refused the job on the grounds of being a Joker fan more than a Batman one. Sadly, it’s that sort of vision that allows Burton to keep lighting studios’ money on fire while Dante is reduced to low-fi time-wasters like “The Hole."

NYFF Review: 'Life Of Pi' Is An Inspiring & Visually Stunning Tale Of Faith, Hope & Self-Discovery

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 28, 2012 3:27 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Taiwanese-born American film director Ang Lee’s career is difficult to pin down. He’s constructed nuanced and well-crafted dramas of various milieus and textures (from “The Ice Storm,” and “Sense and Sensibility” to the more erotic “Lust/Caution” and “Brokeback Mountain”) and orchestrated films of more action-oriented visual pizzazz and flair as well ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Hulk"). Perhaps bridging all of his eclectic interests, Lee configures a lovely and winning formula for the dazzling and emotionally rich “Life Of Pi.”

NYFF Review: 'Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out' Depicts A Filmmaker In Crisis Mode Overshadowing Her Subject

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 28, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” filmmaker Marina Zenovich attempted to shine a light on the darker corners of the Polanski rape case that forced him to flee the country. Its affect was considerable in the public perception of his case, to the point where it was soon reopened by investigators. Unfortunately, that led to a legal reconsideration as well, bringing heat to a longstanding desire from law enforcement officials to bring Polanski to justice. There’s no room for compassionate reconsideration in the world of law enforcement, but Zenovich’s follow-up, “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” suggests that there’s possibly room for deception and corruption.

Fantastic Fest Review: The Kids Are Alright In Dan Bradley's Sturdy Remake of 'Red Dawn'

  • By William Goss
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  • September 27, 2012 9:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
After North Korean forces set foot on American soil in a clandestine invasion, one character utters that “this was bound to happen sooner or later.” He may just as well be referring to the fact that yet another beloved ‘80s title has been tapped for a remake by Hollywood; this time around, it’s “Red Dawn,” John Milius’ moderately beloved 1984 paean to small-town might and Soviet panic. Dan Bradley’s version won’t sway anyone who already construes the mere prospect of an update as something resembling sacrilege, and it’s unlikely to leave as potent an impact on its current generation, but it stands well enough on its own as an efficient, exciting tale of teenage insurgency.

Review: Muscular Genre Entry 'Solomon Kane' Unpacks Choice Atmosphere & A Superbly Moody James Purefoy

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • September 27, 2012 12:04 PM
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  • 3 Comments
It’s frankly absurd that Michael J. Bassett’s “Solomon Kane,” which premiered in U.K. theaters back in February 2010, is only tiptoeing into American theaters two years later. Credit to The Weinstein Company for picking up what is clearly a B genre picture, trading in grime-streaked foggy atmosphere and featuring a memorable turn from an ever-reliable actor frequently confused with Thomas Jane. Perhaps it’s the modern-day obscurity of Robert E. Howard’s sword-and-sorcery malefactor that prevents the assured film from coming across as a sure thing. Then again, we did get “John Carter,” so why not 'Kane'?

Review: 'The Other Dream Team' A Riveting, Inspiring Tale Of Sports History & Politics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
With NHL players and NFL referees currently locked out, for people who aren't sports fans to begin with, it's hard to sympathize with players making hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, in billion dollar industries. For the most part, in our day-to-day lives, sports doesn't mingle with politics or history, except every four years when nations come together to compete on the global stage. And while the Olympics do indeed anchor the key moments of Marius A. Markevicius' winning documentary "The Other Dream Team," the film wisely constructs a decades-spanning and wholly riveting narrative that chronicles how one basketball team became the hope of an entire country.

Review: 'Pitch Perfect' Hits All The Right Notes

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • September 27, 2012 9:03 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Luckily, "Pitch Perfect" has just enough flaws to (almost) keep us from making terrible puns around its title, but this fun comedy is good enough to leave an a cappella version of "No Diggity" stuck in your head. For a week. If this film does as well as it should, expect an influx of mediocre singers at karaoke; meanwhile we'll stick to practicing our rendition of "Starships" in the shower as we relive the awesomeness.

Fantastic Fest Review: 'Wake In Fright' Is A Genuine Lost Ozploitation Classic

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 26, 2012 12:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments
As the terrifically fun and informative documentary "Not Quite Hollywood" notes, at around the same time that austere, gauzy Australian films were bewitching American art house crowds (dubbed the Australian New Wave by people who dub those sorts of things), another, equally powerful surge of Australian movies were capturing the hearts and minds of stateside grindhouse audiences. Colorfully characterized as "Ozploitation" films, these pictures were down and dirty and unlike anything anyone had seen. In the same year that Nicolas Roeg's poetic outback tale "Walkabout" debuted (a cornerstone of the Australian New Wave), so too did Ted Kotcheff's "Wake In Fright," a much more bruising portrait of the Australian wilderness. While "Walkabout" was instantly considered a classic, "Wake In Fright" has largely languished as an unseen Ozploitation oddity. Until now. It's been cleaned up and is ready for canonization.

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