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The Playlist

NYFF ’11 Review: ‘Paradise Lost 3’ Is Utterly Compelling, But Still Ethically Messy At Times

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 6, 2011 8:37 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Few movies have a conclusion as out-of-nowhere, compelling and yet strange as the one featured in "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory." What makes this finale even more exceptional is the fact that the film is a documentary and that this unexpected coda wasn't dreamed up inside the head of an imaginative screenwriter, but a surprise twist that occurred in these dramatic real life events.

Review: Imperfect Yet Understated & Tender 'Swell Season' Digs Under The Skin Of 'Once' Co-Stars

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • October 6, 2011 7:37 AM
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  • 0 Comments
“Once” was the little movie that could get you out of a rut, provided the mind and heart remained open to the maudlin yet unstrained love that sprung up between a guitar player and a flower seller of few words. Much of the film’s success can be justifiably attributed to the immense charm of the two leads, Irishman Glen Hansard and the Czech-born Markéta Irglová, whose effortless musicality and chemistry lent the film a lived-in feel that bigger budgeted studio fare would kill for. The film was a surprising success that culminated in an emotional Oscar win for its leads and their song “Falling Slowly,” recorded by the duo as The Swell Season.
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NYFF '11 Review: '4:44: Last Day On Earth' Envisions The Apocalypse Without Much Imagination

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 6, 2011 3:11 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There's something very wrong in Abel Ferrara's "4:44: Last Day On Earth." The world, as the title would suggest, is coming to an end, and Ferrara, the fuck-you auteur behind "King of New York" and the non-Nic Cage-adorned "Bad Lieutenant," is content with keeping things inside a spacious apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There aren't any fireballs ascending heavenward, or steely buildings splintering into a million computer generated pieces. The anguish here isn't global, but personal, and instead of millions of people, Ferrara zeroes in on an arty couple, played by Willem Dafoe (channeling his "Antichrist" persona of earnest concern, except with more levity and less genital mutilation) and the young Shanyn Leigh.

Review: 'The Ides Of March' Is A Gripping Return To Form For Director George Clooney

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 6, 2011 2:05 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The following is a reprint of our review from the Venice Film Festival

NYFF ’11 Review: ‘Corpo Celeste’ Is A Quietly Moving Coming-Of-Age Tale

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 3, 2011 4:43 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The subtle, affecting “Corpo Celeste” is the story of Marta (Yle Vianello), a 13-year-old Italian girl who has spent the last decade growing up in Switzerland. She returns to Calabria (an act that’s described in the press materials as a “return emigration”), in southern Italy, to be bombarded with family and thrust into the rites of Catholic confirmation. She doesn’t stumble across a conspiracy or gain a magic key that transports her to another dimension but you hang on her every move, action, and glance, just the same.

NYFF '11 Review: 'Tahrir' Is A Must-See Account Of The Egyptian Uprising

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 2, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The "Arab Spring" -- a term frequently used to describe the various countries in the Middle East rising against their much-maligned leaders -- rages on in full force. Though the wave of revolution is powerful, the media tends to be very selective in its coverage, focusing on one country before quickly moving onto another. You can't blame someone if they just assumed Egypt was just dandy now given the lack of coverage, as Libya's the new paramour.

NYFF '11 Review: 'We Can't Go Home Again' Is A Maddening, Fascinating Effort From Nicholas Ray

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 2, 2011 3:06 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In 1971 Nicholas Ray, former Hollywood director of "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Bigger Than Life," accepted a teaching position at Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Binghamton University in upstate New York. At the time the university was seen as the epicenter of experimental and avant-garde art (the film program at Binghamton having been started by renowned experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs). At some point during his two-year tenure, Ray moved into a house off campus with a group of his students and began collaborating on "We Can't Go Home Again," a project that would screen at Cannes in 1973 but was tinkered with, by Ray, until his death from cancer in 1979.

Review: ‘Finding Joe’ Visually Explores Influence Of Mythologist/Teacher/Writer Joseph Campbell

  • By Jeff Otto
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  • October 1, 2011 12:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” - Joseph Campbell
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NYFF '11 Review: 'Dreileben' Is An Accomplished, Dense Trilogy Spanning Murder, Love & More

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 1, 2011 3:20 AM
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  • 4 Comments
With the recent upsurge in quality TV programming and the ensuing embracement by cinema-goers, it was only a matter of time before film festivals actually started programming pieces originally made for the tube. Both "Carlos" and "The Red Riding Trilogy" were of this ilk; flicks broadcast on the small-screen that retained their cinematic quality but took advantage of the long-form storytelling television provided. "Dreileben," the latest of these undertakings, centers on a murder across three feature films each with their own perspective. Things open innocently with a youthful romance, the loose murderer and subsequent manhunt only lurking in the background. Out of sight, out of mind -- but it only lasts for so long. The second feature involves an out-of-towner psychologist helping with the investigation and the third follows the "villain" himself. Much like 'Red Riding,' this triptych is helmed by different directors: Christian Petzold ("Jerichow"), Dominik Graf ("A Map of the Heart"), and critic Christoph Hochhäusler ("The City Below"), each of them part of the "Berlin School" clique in contemporary German cinema.

Review: 'My Joy' Is A Searing Blast On Russian Society Past And Present

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 1, 2011 2:53 AM
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  • 2 Comments
After admiring the mixing process of cement, two men heartlessly drop a dead body into the vat. The sun shines, a bulldozer covers the hole, and people get on with their workday. Wait a second, Sergei Loznitsa, you don't really mean that title sincerely, do you?

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