The Playlist

Sundance: Director Antonio Campos & Stars Of 'Simon Killer' Talk Sociopaths, Sex & Soundtrack To The Film

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 26, 2012 2:56 PM
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  • 3 Comments
This time last year, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" was the toast of Sundance, an impossibly tense drama that, even by the end of 2011, still stood tall as one of the year's best films. Last January, "Afterschool" helmer Antonio Campos was in Park City in his capacity as a producer (he's one third of Borderline Films along with 'Martha Marcy' director Sean Durkin and Josh Mond), but twelve months later, he's back as director, with another intense character study, "Simon Killer."

James Murphy & 'Shut Up And Play The Hits' Filmmakers Say Full 4 Hour Madison Square Concert Will See The Light Of Day

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 26, 2012 12:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment
We can't remember the last time a concert movie caused quite as much excitement as "Shut Up And Play The Hits." But given that the film is a document of the final gig of James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem, one of the most acclaimed bands of the last decade, it's easy to understand. Despite reaching a point where they were more successful than ever before, the dance-punk-glam-rock group, Murphy decided to call it a day while still on top, breaking up the band after two sold-out gigs at Madison Square Garden last April.

Sundance: Director Craig Zobel Talks The Controversy, Criticism & Intent Of 'Compliance'

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 26, 2012 11:03 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The Sundance Film Festival has always included provocative films in its programming, as much to challenge attendees’ expectations as to introduce to the world new, visionary filmmakers who aren’t afraid to take risks. In 2012, the film that has caused the most controversy is “Compliance,” Craig Zobel’s fictionalization of a string of incidents in which a caller posed as a police officer asks a restaurant manager to detain an employee, kicking off a string of events that lead to the sexual assault of a young woman (our review here). Undoubtedly as much because of their ignorance of what they were walking into as the moral ambiguity of the content itself, audience members were shocked by the film at its first screening, and questioned Zobel and his cast at the accompanying Q&A about why they made it. And although attendees were better prepared to watch it at a second screening days later, they responded to its story with a mix of admiration and outrage, prompting another contentious, but much more respectful discussion of its ambitions and its impact.

Sundance: 'Paradise Lost' Director Joe Berlinger Talks About The "Unnecessary Friction" With 'West Of Memphis' Filmmakers

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 26, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 12 Comments
For almost 20 years, documentarian Joe Berlinger (along with Bruce Sinofksy) has chronicled the complicated history of the West Memphis Three, a trio of Arkansas teenagers who were found guilty of a triple homicide despite questionable evidence. His first film about the trial, “Paradise Lost,” was released in 1996; Part 2, 'Revelations' followed in 2000, and Part 3, 'Purgatory,' just received a nomination for Best Documentary at this year’s Academy Awards. Berlinger never aspired to be the only filmmaker or news outlet pursuing the story, and in the last year or so, a couple of high-profile projects were initiated about the trial, including the documentary “West of Memphis,” produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh and directed by Amy Berg, and an adaptation of the book “Devil’s Knot,” an account of the crimes written by Mara Levirett, with Atom Egoyan set to direct and Reese Witherspoon to star.

Sundance: Clarke Peters & Nate Parker And Writer James McBride, Talk Race & Religion In Spike Lee's 'Red Hook Summer'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 25, 2012 6:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Whatever you thought of his last film, " Miracle At St. Anna" (and we'd argue that it's better than its reputation suggests), most would agree that three-and-a-half years is too long between Spike Lee feature films (though his excellent documentaries have been a good placeholder). One of our most vital filmmakers, behind classics from "Do The Right Thing" to "25th Hour," he delivers work that is always thought-provoking and fiery. And he's not mellowed in his absence; when his latest film, the self-financed "Red Hook Summer," premiered on Sunday night at Sundance, it instantly became one of the controversial, divisive films of the festival, with some calling it a real return to form, and some calling it among his weakest, scrappiest efforts.

So Yong Kim Discusses Her Collaboration With Paul Dano & Battling The Freezing Winter In 'For Ellen'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 25, 2012 4:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Thanks to her previous films "In Between Days" and "Treeless Mountain," and a none-more-indie cast featuring Paul Dano and Jena Malone, So Yong Kim's latest "For Ellen" had to be one of the most anticipated films of Sundance, at least in certain circles.

Sundance: Mark Webber Talks Working With His Son On 'The End Of Love' & How The Michael Cera Scene Came Together

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 25, 2012 3:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Every artist takes inspiration from their personal life, but for Mark Webber, making his sophomore directorial effort, “The End of Love,” he didn't have leave home to find his muse. The film, which opened over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, focuses on a character named Mark and his two-year old son Issac; which is a coincidence since it stars Mark and his then-two-year-old son Issac. While not exactly a cinematic autobiography, like Webber's previous film, "Explicit Ills," which focused on the Philadelpha neighborhood he grew up, it allows the writer/director to approach a variety and thematic and narrative material with palpable sense of realism.

Sundance: Mary Elizabeth Winstead On Playing An Alcoholic In 'Smashed' And Working With Roman Coppola & Charlie Sheen

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 25, 2012 1:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Every year, Sundance provides a massive career boost to a handful of people. Sometimes it's a total newcomer -- think of Carey Mulligan, or Elizabeth Olsen in recent years -- who suddenly find themselves on every casting wishlist around.

Sundance: Spike Lee Talks Returning To Brooklyn For 'Red Hook Summer' & Making Films Inside & Outside Hollywood

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 25, 2012 11:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More than 25 years after releasing his debut film, “She’s Gotta Have It,” Spike Lee remains one of the most important and influential directors in Hollywood. His portraits of black life in his early works, including “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Jungle Fever” and “Crooklyn,” set an important precedent that countless filmmakers of color have followed, while his forays into more broadly commercial work, such as “Clockers,” “25th Hour,” “Inside Man” and even “Malcolm X,” are significant achievements of both entertainment and bona fide art. In his latest film, “Red Hook Summer,” which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Lee returns to his old stomping grounds of Brooklyn, NY, where he examines life in the Red Hook housing project as seen through the eyes of a teenager who comes from Atlanta, GA to visit his grandfather.

Sundance: Katie Aselton & Kate Bosworth Talk Realism Vs. Horror In 'Black Rock'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 24, 2012 2:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
While the subject of women in peril is about as old as the horror/thriller genre itself, director Katie Aselton, who also stars alongside Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell, is hoping to change the equation a bit with "Black Rock." The movie, which premiered over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, presents a trio of women who retreat to an island for a weekend, only to wind up fighting for their lives. As our review of the film notes, unlike standard movies in the genre, which give little substance to the women who are the victims of the tale, in "Black Rock" we get much more characterization, which in turn makes the audience far more invested in their plight.

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