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The Playlist

Alejandro G. Inarritu's 'Birdman' Starring Michael Keaton & Emma Stone To Open 2014 Venice Film Festival

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 10, 2014 6:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Birdman
The big three European festivals are Berlin, Cannes and Venice, and the openers for the first two of those lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous this year: Berlin nabbed Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel" to kick off their fest, while Cannes was stuck with the clanging disaster of "Grace Of Monaco." Venice have kept their pick under wraps, until now, but fortunately, it should be closer to the Berlin pick in quality...

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.

Venice 2013: Our 5 Favorite Films Of The Festival, Plus Our Complete Coverage

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 9, 2013 12:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It's farewell for another year to mosquitos, vaporettos and incomprehensibly rude Italian film critics who insist on checking their email mid-screening, because the 70th Venice Film Festival wrapped up on Saturday. For a festival that had seen quite a few twists and turns, it felt appropriate that it ended with Bernardo Bertolucci pulling a few surprises, shunning the more lauded films in the line-up to bestow the Golden Lion on "Sacro GRA," the first Italian film to win the top prize in fifteen years and the first documentary to ever manage the feat.

Exclusive: Watch Andrew Wonder & Paul Schrader's 'Future of Movies' Short For the 70th Venice Film Festival

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 9, 2013 10:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments
 Paul Schrader's 'Future of Movies' short
Instant gratification, video on demand, a la carte consumption, post-theatrical cinema. What’s on the horizon for the future of movies? Well, according to director/writer Paul Schrader (“The Canyons”) and filmmaker/cinematographer Andrew Wonder (@andrewwonder) cinema is in turmoil. “Only today, it’s in a crisis of form, not content,” Schrader says in the short film he and Wonder directed called “Paul Schrader, Future of Cinema.”

Venice Review: Amos Gitai's Shot-In-One-Take 'Ana Arabia'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 9, 2013 7:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments
If there was one stylistic trend at Venice this year, it was bravura, lengthy shots. The festival kicked off with the twenty-minute opening shot of "Gravity," and the rest of the festival sometimes felt like some kind of who-can-hold-a-shot the longest competition, with Steven Knight's "Locke" and Tsai Ming-Liang's "Stray Dogs" also getting in on the real-time act. But if this competition had a winner, it was undoubtedly Amos Gitai, with his latest film "Ana Arabia."

Venice Review: Golden Lion Winner 'Sacro GRA'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 8, 2013 3:09 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It's a good thing that "Sacro GRA" won the Golden Lion, the Venice Film Festival, yesterday (making it the first documentary to win the top prize in the 70-year history of the festival). Because, quite frankly, it's just about the only reason you'd come to read this review. Its director, Gianfranco Rosi, isn't a major name outside Italy, and its subject matter -- the lives of those who live or work on or near the GRA, the enormous ring-road that circles Rome -- was also more targeted to the home crowd. It's great that a documentary has broken through and won the Lion, but we're a little baffled that a film as unremarkable as this one was the one to do.

Venice Review: Frederick Wiseman's Epic College-Set Documentary 'At Berkeley'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 6, 2013 12:31 PM
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  • 4 Comments
At Berkeley
Over the years, veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman has covered what sometimes feels like almost kind of institution and every aspect of life in America (and occasionally, life abroad too). "Titicut Follies," "Juvenile Court," "Zoo," "Racetrack," "Central Park," "Public Housing," "Boxing Gym," a pair of movies focusing on teen education, and many, many more, he's covered the gamut. Now, aged 83, Wiseman, like Rodney Dangerfield before him, is going Back To School...

Venice Review: Tsai Ming-Liang's 'Stray Dogs'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 6, 2013 11:58 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Tsai Ming-Liang's 'Stray Dogs'
In a festival that's seen a number of endurance tests—Philip Groning's three-hour, 59-chapter "The Police Officer's Wife," the abstracted imagery of "Under The Skin," the brief but unrelentingly terrible duration of "Parkland," no film seemed to inspire more walk outs than "Stray Dogs." The return of acclaimed Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang after a 4-year absence (and longer since he made a film at home: 2009's "Play" mostly featured French actors), it's not that it’s particularly lengthy, or particularly provocative in its content.

Venice Review: Japanese Remake Of Clint Eastwood's 'Unforgiven' Starring Ken Watanabe

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 5, 2013 7:23 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Lord knows that, over the years, Hollywood has plundered its fair share of Japanese cinema. From the appropriation of "Godzilla," "Seven Samurai" turning into "The Magnificent Seven," to the long run of J-horror re-dos, to—only last week—the announcement of a DreamWorks version of Cannes film "Like Father Like Son," there aren't many major and successful Japanese movies that haven't been at least developed as a remake. So it only seems fair that the favor should be returned at some point, and what could be a better way of doing so than by remaking one of the greatest films by Clint Eastwood, whose own star was launched when "Yojimbo" was remade as "A Fistful Of Dollars."

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