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Beyond the professional accomplishments of Alan Turing depicted within the narrative of The Imitation Game, it's the way the film deals with his homosexuality, in a time where homosexuality was illegal in Britain, that makes it much more than your standard biopic. With a screenplay by Graham Moore, based on the book "Alan Turing: The Enigma", director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) balances multiple timelines with precision, bouncing from Turing's childhood in the late '20s, to code cracking Germany's Enigma code during World War II and finally where the story begins, 1952, as Turing falls under the questioning eye of a police detective. Using these three narratives, Tyldum grants us access to specific turning points in Turing's life with Benedict Cumberbatch inhabiting the genius mathematician and cryptographer with what may be the best performance of his career. In a film entrenched in secrets, Cumberbatch is forced to play things close to the vest, »
- Brad Brevet
“Pay attention,” Benedict Cumberbatch’s Alan Turing demands at the end of the long monologue that opens The Imitation Game, though it’s difficult to tell why. For one, the threatening intonation sounds like leftover scenery chewing from his Khan in last year’s Star Trek, and though The Imitation Game does demonstrate what a man of the future the real Alan Turing was, the portrait crafted is of a much gentler man. More importantly, it’s odd a film would request its audience to be so attentive to detail, when The Imitation Game itself cares little for any details it doesn’t spell out for you in capital letters.
Rotors of an encryption machine transition to the wheels moving Nazi tank treads, and a snubbed cigarette replaces a U-boat torpedo the moment before impact. A zinger-heavy script makes dialogue sound as though every punchline should be accompanied by the »
- Sam Woolf
Manuel here to catch us up on the winners of the 71st Venice Film Festival.
The big story (as far as Us-based coverage goes) is the "shutout" of Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman. As it turns out, the Alexandre Desplat-led jury went with another feathered-titled film. Find the full list of winners below.
Golden Lion: A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence by Roy Andersson
Silver Lion (Best Director): Andrej Koncalovskij, The Postman's White Nights
Best Screenplay: Rakhshan Banietemad and Farid Mostafavi, Ghesseha (Tales)
Special Jury Prize: Sivas by Kaan Müjdeci
An Emmy nomination. A Venice Film Festival Award. A plum role in an iconic franchise's upcoming entry. »
- Manuel Betancourt
Throughout the 71st Venice Film Festival, which wrapped on Friday, the expectation was that the Golden Lion for best film would go to Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” starring Michael Keaton. But the jury headed by Alexandre Desplat did the unexpected and gave the Lion to another bird with a lofty title, Swedish director Roy Andersson’s wildly funny “Pigeon On a Branch Reflecting On Experience.” “Birdman” received no awards. A series of painterly, often inter-connected tableaux showing “what it’s like to be a human,” “Pigeon” is both philosophical and absurd, suggesting comedic influences ranging from Monty Python to Jacques Tati to Larry David, though in accepting the award, a reportedly emotional Andersson named the Italian neo-realist Vittorio De Sica as his primary influence. Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky was awarded the Silver Lion for best director for his “The Postman’s White Nights, »
- Tom Christie
Roy Andersson’s lauded absurdist comedy A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence has scooped the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
Update 12:20 Pm Pt: The Venice jury tonight gave its Golden Lion to a bird, but it wasn’t the particular bird many were expecting. Alejandro G Inarritu’s opening night hit Birdman was shut out of the awards. The Golden Lion instead went to Roy Andersson’s A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence. The metaphysical film is the final leg of a trilogy about what it means to be a human being. It carries on from 2000’s Songs From The Second Floor and 2007’s You, The Living. Pigeon was well-received by critics here so it’s not a total surprise – and this was a movie folks had been waiting for since it didn’t turn up on the Cannes roster after Andersson’s previous two debuted there. Jury member Tim Roth said he liked Birdman and told the press corps of its omission amongst the prizes, »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Michael Yezerski is an award-winning Australian composer who wrote the score for The Little Death, which is having its North American debut at Tiff 2014. The film is part of the Discovery programming and will be screening on Sept. 7th and Sept. 14th. Kate Kulzick had the opportunity to speak at length with Yezerski about his score for The Little Death (available here) and his approach to composition (below).
Kate Kulzick: Do you have a particular philosophy [you] bring to your scoring, in general, because I know for some people it’s very much about support… If the audience remembers the score, to some people that means the score was too obtrusive and for other people, if they don’t remember the score then the composer… maybe wasn’t doing the right thing. I know that there’s different schools of thought on that. I’m curious what you think.
- Kate Kulzick
Well, that’s basically a wrap on the Venice Film Festival and the Venezia 71 jury—chaired by Alexandre Desplat and comprised of Joan Chen, Philip Gröning, Jessica Hausner, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandy Powell, Tim Roth, Elia Suleiman and Carlo Verdone—has decided the awards. The big winner? Roy Andersson’s metaphysical, long-awaited “A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence” won the Golden Lion Best Film prize (our review). Adam Driver won best actor for “Hungry Hearts” and the Grand Jury Prize went to Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary “The Look Of Silence” (our review). Full winners with applicable links below. Golden Lion for Best Film to: En Duva Satt PÅ En Gren Och Funderade PÅ Tillvaron A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence by Roy Andersson (Sweden, Germany, Norway, France) Silver Lion for Best Director to: Andrej Končalovskij for the film Belye Nochi Pochtalona Alekseya Tryapitsyna (The Postman »
- The Playlist
Venice — The 71st Venice Film Festival can hold its head high as having had its fair share of exceptional films in the 2014 Competition for Alexandre Desplat's jury to pick from. Going in, I was still kind of hoping for the Golden Lion for "Birdman," partly because it's excellent and partly because its excellence is spread across so many categories -- an amazing cast, especially Michael Keaton's lead turn, career-best direction from Alejandro G. Inarritu, cinematography that defies belief -- which would have made an all-rounder award feel fair. I also hoped for a big prize for "A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Contemplating Existence" and maybe nods for "In The Basement," "99 Homes" or "The Look Of Silence." In the event, the winners were as follows… Golden Lion: "A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence," by Roy Andersson Grand Jury Prize: "The Look Of Silence," by Joshua Oppenheimer »
- Catherine Bray
Venice – Swedish director Roy Andersson’s “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” an absurdist pic consisting of intersecting beautifully composed vignettes, won the 71st Venice Golden Lion.
“Pigeon” is “the final part of a trilogy on being a human being,” in the words of the cult director known to cinephiles for his sophisticated comic absurdity. The previous two installments are “Songs From The Second Floor” and “You, the Living.”
“Number one on my list concerning influence is Vittorio De Sica,” said the visibly moved auteur in receiving the top nod, paying tribute to the Italian neo-realist master.
- Nick Vivarelli
The International Jury for the Competition of the 71st Venice International Film Festival, presided over by composer Alexandre Desplat, has presented the Golden Lion to Roy Andersson's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. Among the other awards presented: Silver Lion for Best Director to Andrey Konchalovskiy (The Postman's White Nights) and the Grand Jury Prize to Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence. The Coppa Volpis for Best Actor and Best Actress go to the two leads in Saverio Costanzo's Hungry Hearts, Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher, while the award for Best New Young Actor or Actress goes to Romain Paul (The Last Hammer Blow). Best Screenplay: Rakhshan Banietemad and Farid Mostafavi for Tales. We've got the full list. » - David Hudson »
The shindig on the Lido that is the Venice Film Festival draws to a close tonight after 11 days of films, stars, sun – and a lot of uncharacteristic rain. The weather put a damper on the proceedings which were a little less glitzy than in the past couple of years, and some films fell flat. But, there were a handful of breakout movies that are likely to figure in awards season as it kicks into gear.
As it did last year, the festival got underway with a smash. In 2013, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity began its stellar trajectory after opening the festival out of competition. This year, Cuaron’s pal Alejandro G Inarritu’s Birdman soared in its debut with raves pretty much across the board. I asked Inarritu afterwards if we could expect a movie from his and Cuaron’s amigo, Guillermo del Toro, to do opening honors next year. “Yes! »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the historical drama as pioneering mathematician and scientist Alan Turing, whose code-breaking work at Bletchley Park proved vital for the Allies in World War II.
Digital Spy rounds up the critical reactions to Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley's highly-anticipated film.
Todd McCarthy - The Hollywood Reporter
"Benedict Cumberbatch is cornering the market on playing exceptionally brilliant problem solvers, first on television with his dazzling portrayal of a modern Sherlock Holmes and now on the big screen in a superb performance as Alan Turing, who cracked the Enigma code and helped win World War II.
"Engrossing, nicely textured and sadly tragic, The Imitation Game is overly reluctant to dive into the nitty gritty of how the man who's often called the father of artificial intelligence accomplished what he did, »
Nothing is too heavily encrypted in “The Imitation Game,”, rendered in such unerringly tasteful, “Masterpiece Theatre”-ish fashion that every one of Turing’s professional triumphs and personal tragedies arrives right on schedule and with nary a hair out of place. More than once during the accomplished (but not particularly distinctive) English-language debut for Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (“Headhunters”), you can catch the ghost of the late Richard Attenborough nodding approvingly over the decorous proceedings. And yet so innately compelling is Turing’s story — to say nothing of Benedict Cumberbatch’s masterful performance — it’s hard not to get caught up in this well-told tale and its skillful manipulations. Likely to prove more popular with general audiences than highbrow critics, this unapologetically old-fashioned prestige picture (the first of the season’s dueling studies of brilliant but tragic English academics, to be followed soon by “The Theory of Everything”) looks and »
- Scott Foundas
Telluride — There are two reasons Andrew Hodges' biography of Alan Turing references "The Enigma" in its title. The first is in reference to the Engima machine, the legendary secret code the Nazis used during World War II, which was solved by a secret UK military division lead by Turing. The second is Turing himself. Known for his advancements in computer theory (look up Turing Machines), BBC News noted that Winston Churchill once referred to Turing as having made "the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany." Somehow he became a historical footnote until finally getting proper credit for his WWII accomplishments in the 1990s. Eventually he was pardoned for a "gross indecency" charge (which destroyed his life) by the Queen of England in 2013. He was a hero the Western world didn't know about for decades and in many ways the circumstances of his death »
- Gregory Ellwood
I’m back with another mix tape, only this time the compilation consists solely of the best music from movies released in 2014 (January to the end of August). As per usual, I’ve also included some fun movie clips. Here are tracks from the best soundtracks and scores of the year so far. Be sure to check back in December for part two.
The Band – “The Weight” (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Superhuman – “Where It Ends” (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
James Brown – “Papas Got A Brand New Bag” (Get On Up: The James Brown Story)
Get On Up Movie Clip
Elvis Presley – “You’re »
- Sound On Sight Podcast
This week, the world's oldest and often most unpredictable film festival, the 71st Venice Film Festival, will unroll on the Lido. Twenty films will screen in competition, vying for the prestigious Golden Lion and a further fifty-odd films will show out of competition and in the various sidebars - all but one of which will be world premieres - along with nineteen restored classics and a series of shorts. French composer Alexandre Desplat is heading the jury, which includes Britain's very own Tim Roth. Following on from last year's big bang opening of Alfonso Cuarón's Oscar-engulfing Gravity (2013), fellow Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's (Amores Perros) heavily shrouded Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), ought to kick things of in some style if early glimpses are anything to go by.
- CineVue UK
Before the Fest Starts — Academy Award-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat (pictured) has the enviable or un-enviable task of heading the In Competition jury for Venice. He will either butt heads or lock arms with various members of his eclectic jury including highly-skilled filmmaking artisans such as:
Israeli director Elia Suleiman (Divine Intervention) Actress Joan Chen (Lust, Caution) Actor Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) Costume Designer Sandy Powell (Shakespeare In Love) Novelist Jhumpa Lahiri (The Namesake) Writer/director Jessica Hausner (Lourdes) Writer/director Carlo Verdone (Me, Them, And Lara) Writer/director Philip Groning (Into Great Silence) »
Before the Fest Starts — Academy Award-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat(pictured) has the enviable or un-enviable task of heading the In Competition jury for Venice. He will either butt heads or lock arms with various members of his eclectic jury including highly-skilled filmmaking artisans such as:
Israeli director Elia Suleiman (Divine Intervention) Actress Joan Chen (Lust, Caution) Actor Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) Costume Designer Sandy Powell (Shakespeare In Love) Novelist Jhumpa Lahiri (The Namesake) Writer/director Jessica Hausner (Lourdes) Writer/director Carlo Verdone< (Me, Them, And Lara) Writer/director Philip Groning (Into Great Silence) »
As previously reported by my HitFix colleagues, 2014’s fall festivals represent something of a battle royale for various heavyweight Oscar hopefuls. The oldest fest in the big four, venerable Venice, is up against younger North American counterparts Toronto, Telluride and New York in the perennial fight to deliver a truly memorable Competition. Which films will be left standing once the critics have had their way with them? Contenders hoping to emerge victorious from La Biennale’s royal rumble include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s opening nighter "Birdman" starring Michael Keaton, David Gordon Green’s Al Pacino vehicle "Manglehorn" and Andrew Garfield vs Michael Shannon in Ramin Bahrani’s real estate showdown "99 Homes." As far as awards season goes, for me the big hitter to beat from Cannes is "Foxcatcher," an extraordinary and illuminating piece of filmmaking from Bennett Miller, a director I’ve not been personally persuaded by before now. In the documentary category, »
- Catherine Bray
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