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The Playlist

Venice Review: 'Linhas De Wellington' Is A Handsome But Middling Tribute To The Late Raúl Ruiz

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 4, 2012 1:37 PM
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  • 3 Comments
If you had to pick the final film to be completed after a forty-year career of over one hundred films, you’d certainly hope for one as masterful as “Mysteries Of Lisbon,” the four-hour 2010 epic that proved to be the last completed directorial effort from Chilean-born, French-settled filmmaker Raúl Ruiz. An internationally acclaimed Portugese-language costume drama, it’s one of the richest films of the last few years, and one that certainly served as a fitting crowning accomplishment.

Telluride Review: 'Hyde Park On Hudson' Is A Lightweight & Toothless Crowd-Pleaser

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 4, 2012 8:59 AM
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  • 5 Comments
At 61 years of age, the presumably hard-living Bill Murray conservatively only has two more decades of work left in him. So perhaps we all want him to really dazzle us with some meaty roles and not waste his time with middling fluff like Roger Michell's "Hyde Park on Hudson," a moderately pleasant but depthless picture that makes "The King's Speech" look like "A Clockwork Orange." OK, that's a purposeful exaggeration, but "Hyde Park on Hudson" is unremarkable; the type of would-be Oscar fluff that makes sure it goes down the award season check list for every gentle and inoffensive cinematic element it can find.

Venice Review: 'Blondie' A Promising Swedish Family Drama That Gets Less Interesting As It Goes On

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 3, 2012 6:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment
For millennia now, the idea of three sisters has been a potent one in myth and literature. From the Fates of Greek legend to the witches in “Macbeth” to Olya, Masha and Marina in Chekov’s play, the theme recurs across civilizations, with mountain ranges and rivers named some variation on ‘three sisters’ the world over.

Venice Review: ‘Disconnect’ Is ‘Crash’ For The Web Era, And Even More Dismal Than That Sounds

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 3, 2012 1:35 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Many writers say they prefer not start the writing process with a theme in mind – they simply let it emerge organically from their plot or characters. But then, plenty of films have gone the other way. The multi-stranded, interconnected drama revolving around a particular subject or theme, like Steven Soderbergh’s take on the war on drugs in “Traffic,” or Paul Thomas Anderson’s examination of coincidence and happenstance in “Magnolia,” have proved particularly popular in recent years. And given that they garlanded financial and critical success, it makes sense that others have set out to follow in their footsteps.

Venice Review: Olivier Assayas’ ‘Something In The Air’ A Gorgeous Autobiography Marred By Underdeveloped Characters

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 3, 2012 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments
He’s been something of a critical favorite for a while now, but after making the hugely acclaimed “Summer Hours” and the acclaimed TV miniseries/theatrical marathon “Carlos” within a few years of each other, French filmmaker Olivier Assayas has firmly cemented himself as one of the more exciting directors in world cinema, after 25 years as a director.

Telluride Review: Michael Winterbottom’s ‘Everyday’ Is Uneven, But Emotionally Rewarding

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 3, 2012 9:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The ultra prolific British helmer Michael Winterbottom has now made twenty films since his debut, “Butterfly Kiss,” in 1995. His eclectic creative appetites and peripatetic energy has seen the restless director take on a disparate array of projects from moody sci-fi ("Code 46"), pulpy noir ("The Killer Inside Me"), a post-modern music-scene saga ("24 Hour Party People") a western ("The Claim") and many, many more genres including documentaries as well.

Review: 'Anna Karenina' Is A Bold Reimagining Of A Classic That's (Mostly) Thrilling & Inventive

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2012 7:53 PM
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  • 36 Comments
When it was announced that Joe Wright was going to direct a new film version of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," starring his cinematic muse Keira Knightley, most people probably knew what to expect. After all, the two had collaborated on both Wright's debut "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement" (both also produced by Working Title Films) and it was easy to assume that their take on the Russian classic would be along similar lines; a handsome period piece taking advantage of the best British actors available, and with a few showy camera touches that would set it apart from your average costume drama.

Venice Review: 'Fill The Void' An Orthodox Jewish Romance Caught Awkwardly Between Comedy & Melodrama

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2012 2:10 PM
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  • 2 Comments
After a Cannes Film Festival which attracted criticism for including no female directors whatsoever, new Venice Film Festival head Alberto Barbera seems to be having bit of a dig at his Gallic rivals with his first year in charge. In the official selection alone, there are four female directors or co-directors, and plenty more in the various sidebars. Perhaps most notably are some from the Middle East. “Wadjda” is the first film ever made in Saudi Arabia, and that it’s made by a female director, Haifaa Al Mansour, in a country not known for its love of women in positions of power is rather extraordinary (word is the film’s pretty good too: unfortunately, other commitments kept us from seeing it here, but we plan to catch up elsewhere).

Venice Review: Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder' Is A Raw & Heartfelt Film Of Loss And Longing

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2012 7:18 AM
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  • 37 Comments
For a man not known for being prolific, an eighteen-month gap between Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” (the filmmaker’s first film in five years) and his latest, “To the Wonder” (only his sixth in forty years) isn’t just unprecedented, it’s positively mind-boggling, especially given that the director is currently shooting a pair of films, “Knight of Cups” and another untitled film starring Ryan Gosling, back to back.

Telluride Review: Endearing & Buoyant ‘Frances Ha’ Marks A Terrific Gear Shift For Director Noah Baumbach

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 1, 2012 8:47 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Loose, limber and driven by a fierce energy and staccato/pause rhythm we haven't seen previously from this filmmaker, Noah Baumbach's sublime "Frances Ha" is a fresh and vivacious near-reinvention of the director/writer's comedic milieu. An enchanting riff on friendship and the late-20-something right of passage into true adulthood, while the buoyant comedy does focus on those who still don't have their shit together, it is however, leagues more rich and emotionally layered than the average arrested development dilemma that seems to pervade 20/30-something comedies of late.

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