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The Playlist

Telluride Review: Martin Scorsese's 'The 50 Year Argument'

  • By Chris Willman
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  • September 1, 2014 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The 50 Year Argument
One of the greater pleasures of watching "The 50 Year Argument," a new documentary about the history of the New York Review of Books, is anticipating its HBO premiere on Sept. 29th and imagining just how torturous this saga of a venerable literary journal might be for anyone who chanced upon the channel hoping to come across an episode of "Taxicab Confessions." The closest thing TV viewers will get to a true confession is Joan Didion admitting that she both knew very little and cared very little for national party politics when the magazine implored her to go write about a Democratic convention. Hard to believe they got this chick to sign a release after that, right?

Telluride Review: 'Escobar: Paradise Lost' Starring Benicio Del Toro And Josh Hutcherson

  • By Chris Willman
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  • September 1, 2014 9:49 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Escobar: Paradise Lost
You know that deeply anxious expression that Josh Hutcherson wears throughout "The Hunger Games" movies? Well, if you’re a fan of his trademark chagrined countenance, you get a whole lot more of it in "Escobar: Paradise Lost," where his character has a pretty good reason for near-constant concern. In this potboiler, Hutcherson’s a white boy (obviously) who’s pledged to marry into the family of famed Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. What, he worry?

Telluride Review: Jean-Marc Vallée’s ‘Wild’ Starring Reese Witherspoon

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 30, 2014 12:51 PM
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  • 22 Comments
Wild Reese Witherspoon
In the summer of 1995, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed decided to walk the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself without having ever having attempted a serious hike in her life. Following the death of her mother and after years of dissolute self-destructive behavior, Strayed found herself divorced, alone, lost and on a frayed edge of personal despair. Desperately trying to find her humanity and reclaim an her ideal self, she impulsively set out, ill-equipped and inexperienced, to find herself on an unpredictable and grueling odyssey from the Mojave desert through California to Oregon over the course of over 150 days.

Telluride Review: 'The Imitation Game' Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley And More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 30, 2014 11:58 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Imitation Game
In 1941, brilliant Cambridge mathematician Alan Turing was hired by the British military to break an infamous and seemingly unbreakable Nazi code called Enigma. Leading a group of misfit cryptanalysts, logicians and wunderkind minds, Turing directed the operation of code breakers to crack Enigma and win the war. But for Turing, this victory came at a terrible expense.

Telluride Review: Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' Starring Gael Garcia Bernal

  • By Chris Willman
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  • August 30, 2014 11:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Rosewater
The category of Iranian prison movies with feel-good endings is a small subgenre, and one that "Rosewater" is likely to have all to itself for the near future. With his feature film writing and directing debut, "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart clearly wanted to make a people-have-the-power message picture that would resonate at least as much with American youths as longtime students of political repression in the Middle East. That transparent desire to make the material as accessible as possible to U.S. moviegoers —starting with the old-fashioned notion of having all the Iranians speaking to each other exclusively in English—results in a sometimes overly slick take on potentially tough subject matter. For better or worse, torture-themed films don’t get too much easier to take than this one.

World Premieres Of 'The Imitation Game,' 'Wild' & 'Rosewater' Lead 2014 Telluride Film Festival Line-Up

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 28, 2014 10:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Imitation Game
We're well underway on festival season: the Venice Film Festival is going into its second day, and as we speak, our intrepid correspondent is mid-air on the way to the Telluride International Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow. An increasingly crucial Oscar launch pad as well as a nicely curated festival, Telluride also differs from other festivals in that it only announces its lineup at the last minute. And by the last minute, we mean just now.

Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' Won't Be Ready For Telluride Or TIFF

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 11, 2014 5:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Werner Herzog, Queen of The Desert
It seemed like a no brainer: Production had wrapped, and considering that there's a new theater in town named after the guy, Werner Herzog's "Queen Of The Desert" looked like it would sail into the Telluride Film Festival. But it looks like the movie won't make Telluride or the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Fall Festival 50: Our Wishlist For The Venice, Telluride And Toronto Film Festivals

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 30, 2014 3:48 PM
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  • 24 Comments
2014: Fall Film Festival wishlist
So while the rest of the world, (pretty much literally, it seems) goes to see “Transformers: Abandon Hope” our choice is either to kvetch and moan and rend our clothes about the Death of Culture and People These Days, or to retreat into our nice comfy wheelhouse/padded cell, humming gently to ourselves, catching the odd fly and pretending the moviegoing public has not just awarded $300 million in 3 days to the worst tentpole of the year. And right now, the cowardly but sanity-protecting latter path is the one we’re going to pursue (though we reserve the right to kvetch etc. elsewhere). With June at its end and the days getting shorter, we’re looking down the road, beyond the unstoppable, all-devouring toy franchise behemoth that’s probably about to blot out the sun, toward the fall festival season, and the films that we expect, hope or surmise we might see at the big trio of Venice, Telluride and Toronto, or the lower-profile NYFF or AFI Fest in the unlikely event of us surviving the Summer.

Podcast: The Playlist Discusses The Festival Films Of Venice, Telluride & Toronto 2013

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • September 17, 2013 2:07 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Podcast: Post Fall Film Festival
...and the podcast is back. On this latest episode, host (yours truly) and contributor Erik McClanahan is joined by Editor-In-Chief Rodrigo Perez, Managing Editor Kevin Jagernauth and breaking his podcast duck, our British correspondent and writer Oliver Lyttelton, to talk festivals, specifically the Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride and Venice. We covered a large swath of films at both fests this year but on the show we focus specifically on "12 Years a Slave," (review here, interview here), "Under the Skin" (review here, interview here), "Gravity" (review here), "Joe" (review here), Denis Villeneuve's double dose of "Prisoners" and "Enemy," "Night Moves" "Rush" and "Dallas Buyers Club." Let us know in the comments what titles you're excited for and if you attended, what films you dug.

Telluride Review: Shane Salerno's 'Salinger' Documentary Makes For A Compelling Mystery Yarn

  • By Chris Willman
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  • September 2, 2013 6:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment
J.D. Salinger
Making a documentary about the 20th (and 21st) century’s most notorious recluse is rife with both hazards and rewards for filmmaker Shane Salerno, whose “Salinger” has to make do without a single video or audio clip of its titular subject — not because of rights restrictions, but because they apparently don’t exist. That’s an awfully big hole to compensate for, but then again, as anyone who ever enjoyed “The Usual Suspects” could tell you, having a central figure whom everyone talks about but hardly anyone has ever seen can make for a pretty compelling mystery yarn.

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