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Thompson on Hollywood

NOFF Review: In Neil LaBute's 'Some Velvet Morning,' Sex on a Slow Boil (VIDEO)

Stanley Tucci doesn't receive nearly enough credit for being sexy as hell. Unconventionally handsome, a craftsman of the second fiddle, he's the thinking man's fantasy of middle age. But in Neil LaBute's surprising two-hander "Some Velvet Morning," the allure is twisted, and Tucci elicits another variety of attraction: the hint of menace.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 19, 2013 3:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Review: James Franco's 'As I Lay Directing' (TRAILER)

As the ever prolific James Franco's Cormac McCarthy adaptation "Child of God" continues to win strong reviews at NYFF (having premiered at Venice), his Cannes William Faulkner adaptation "As I Lay Dying" has a limited theatrical release October 11. Check out our review, below.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • October 9, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 13 Comments

Kimberly Peirce Talks Long-Gestating Queer Comedy 'Butch Academy,' Plus Read NYT Profile on Director's Return with 'Carrie' UPDATED

UPDATE: Director Kimberly Peirce has plans to rewrite and resuscitate her long in the works, Judd Apatow-shepherded queer comedy "Butch Academy." She told the Playlist that the project "had transmen transitioning, it had butches and straight men sharing advice about how to please women. It crosses some boundaries.” In other words, it's edgy for a studio comedy. If her remake of "Carrie" does well at the box office this month, then maybe "Butch Academy" will have the momentum to move forward. Let's hope so.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • October 4, 2013 1:46 PM
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  • 2 Comments

In Criterion's New Boxed Set, Bergman and Rossellini Make Love Among the Ruins

In 1947, Ingrid Bergman dashed off an admiring letter to Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Inspired by his neorealist classics "Rome, Open City" and "Paisan," she suggested he might use her multilingual talents. "I am ready to come and make a film with you," she wrote, as though it were destined all along. To watch the fruit of their collaboration is to believe it was.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 25, 2013 12:51 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Ophuls' 'The Earrings of Madame de...' on Blu-ray from Criterion: Before the New Wave, a New Woman (VIDEO)

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, Saint Teresa of Avila reputedly opined, but she never met Louise, Madame de... (Danielle Darrieux). For the vain, tragic heroine of Max Ophuls' "The Earrings of Madame de..." (1953), the price of a direct line to the heavens comes in a foreign currency. (Watch Paul Thomas Anderson's introduction to the Criterion Blu-ray, below.)
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 7, 2013 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments

DVD Review: Pema Tseden's 'Old Dog,' a Powerful Political Allegory of Modern Tibet (TRAILER)

Forget Uggie. My favorite canine companion in recent cinema is the shaggy, steadfast nomad mastiff of Tibetan writer-director Pema Tseden's contemplative and ultimately wrenching "Old Dog" (2011), available today on DVD from Icarus Films Home Video/dGenerate Films Home Video Collection.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 30, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: Mizoguchi's Bitter Masterpiece 'The Life of Oharu' Now on Criterion

Director Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Life of Oharu" (1952), newly available in a high-def digital restoration from the Criterion Collection, teems with contradictions. It's epic yet delicate, set in feudal Japan but animated by modern anxieties, at once a traditional picaresque and a bold feminist classic.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 10, 2013 1:44 PM
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Now and Then: Olivier and the Bard

"I can smile, and murder while I smile," confides that notorious noble, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Laurence Olivier), "and frame my face to all occasions." For Olivier, pronouncing "frame" like "feign," it's an auspicious beginning. In Shakespeare's words, he finds his performer's credo.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • April 26, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: Cary Grant, The Man from Dream City, Revisited (CLIPS)

My own fever dream of Cary Grant takes place between cities, sitting down for a Gibson with Eva Marie Saint on a moving train somewhere in Middle America. Headed "North by Northwest," he's at his sexiest then, temples just flecked with gray, tanned and almost ageless. He's not just the recipient of her advances: he's asking for it.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • April 10, 2013 2:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Now and Then: Quentin Dupieux's 'Wrong' Exposes the Limits of Surrealism

Drafthouse Films, the distributor of Quentin Dupieux's bizarre new film, "Wrong," describes the French director and electronic musician (stage name: Mr. Oizo) as "one of the world’s most fearless cinematic surrealists." The surreal does indeed seem to be Dupieux's preferred register, but this leads me to a trickier question. Should we care?
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 26, 2013 3:21 PM
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  • 4 Comments

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