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11 items from 2011

This week's new films

22 April 2011 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Arthur (12A)

(Jason Winer, 2011, Us) Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner, Luis Guzmán. 110 mins

You can see what they were thinking: "it worked for one difficult-to-market English comic, so let's try it again". But somewhere between the moon and New York City this romcom seems to have lost some of its spirit and spontaneity. There are some snappy lines and funny moments, but Brand's overprivileged wastrel is nowhere near as cuddly as Dudley Moore's was – or as convincingly drunk. Sometimes, hair of the dog isn't the answer.

How I Ended This Summer (12A)

(Aleksei Popogrebsky, 2010, Rus) Grigory Dobrygin, Sergei Puskepalis. 130 mins

Spare and distinctive two-hander set in remote Arctic Russia, where the endless daylight, monotonous work, some terrible news and a touch of radiation exacerbate generational differences to deadly levels.

Pina (U)

(Wim Wenders, 2011, Ger/Fra/UK) 104 mins

A 3D tribute to the work, rather than the life, »

- Steve Rose

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'Black Swan' Big Winner at Independent Spirit Awards

27 February 2011 11:23 AM, PST | Extra | See recent Extra news »

Ballet drama "Black Swan" triumphed at the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards and won for Best Feature, Best Director for Darren Aronofsky, Best Female Lead for Natalie Portman, and Best Cinematography for Matthew Libatique.

Oscar nominee Natalie Portman added this victory to her impressive collection of awards she took home this season, including a Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award for Best Actress. Best Supporting Female went to Dale Dickey for "Winter's Bone."

15 Facts about Natalie Portman! »

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"Black Swan" Dominates 2011 Independent Spirit Awards, But Where's the Love for "Winter's Bone?"

27 February 2011 10:56 AM, PST | Manny the Movie Guy | See recent Manny the Movie Guy news »

With all the "Black Swan" hoopla, am I the only one who thinks that the film, while well-made, is not deserving of all these hyper-crazed adulations? Portman was good, but I prefer Annette Bening's understated performance in "The Kids Are All Right." Or heck, Jennifer Lawrence's "Winter's Bone" performance could easily outdance Portman's delusional ballerina portrayal any day.

And "Winter's Bone," celebrating its true independent spirit, was virtually snubbed at last night's Independent Spirit Awards. Sure, the excellent supporting cast was honored with Dale Dickey winning Best Supporting Female and John Hawkes for Best Supporting Male, but the engaging and deeply haunting Debra Granik movie (with the most nominations totaling to seven nods) lost out guessed it, Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan." (Check out my "Winter's Bone" movie review right here)

And yes, I do admire Aronofsky, I thought "The Wrestler" was one of his personal »

- Manny

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Black Swan Leads 2011 Independent Spirit Award Winners

27 February 2011 9:08 AM, PST | FilmJunk | See recent FilmJunk news »

Well, every year the Independent Spirit Awards are handed out the night before the Oscars, and every year, it seems that they are honouring a completely different set of films, despite having a number of overlapping nominees. At this point, it almost seems like you don't want to win a Spirit Award because if you do, it means you won't end up winning the Oscar. Assuming history repeats itself, James Franco's chances of winning Best Actor for 127 Hours just got a little worse (not that he really had a shot in the first place), and Natalie Portman might not be the lock that everyone thinks she is. Black Swan also ended up taking home Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Cinematography, while John Hawkes and Dale Dickey took home Supporting Actor and Actress awards for Winter's Bone. The Kids Are All Right ended up getting Best Screenplay, while Exit Through the Gift Shop »

- Sean

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Black Swan Swooned at Indie Spirit Awards

26 February 2011 6:10 PM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

I went 10/13 with my predictions of the Indie Spirits today -- my misfires came in the Best Picture and Best Actress categories thinking that Winter's Bone had the edge over Black Swan. Not that Winter's Bone didn't have a good night (it won in the Best Supporting categories - I thought that Bill Murray had the edge over John Hawkes is where I flubbed as well) but it was indeed a Black Swan event -- with additional wins for Directing (Darren Aronofsky) and Cinematography (Matthew Libatique). You can find the winners in bold below. Best Feature 127 Hours Black Swan Greenberg The Kids Are All Right Winter's Bone Best Director Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan Danny Boyle, 127 Hours Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right Debra Granik, Winter's Bone John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole Best Screenplay Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Winter's Bone Nicole Holofcener, »

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'Black Swan' Tops 2011 Independent Spirit Award Winners

26 February 2011 4:51 PM, PST | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

The 2011 Independent Spirit Awards were handed out a few hours ago and Black Swan won in all four categories it was nominated in including Best Picture, Best Director (Darren Aronofsky), Best Actress (Natalie Portman) and Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique). Winter's Bone earned the most nominations at seven and dominated the supporting categories with wins for both Dale Dickey and John Hawkes, of the two only Hawkes earned an Oscar nomination, but he'll be facing off against both Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush tomorrow night so I'm not counting on two awards in two days, though his performance in that film is one to remember.

Elsewhere, James Franco won Best Actor for 127 Hours, though he wasn't facing the stiffest of competition when it comes to most talked about performances of the year as he is the only one of the five nominees to also be nominated for an Oscar. Exit Through the Gift Shop »

- Brad Brevet

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Spirit Awards 2011 predictions and Joel McHale comments

26 February 2011 9:45 AM, PST | | See recent news »

By Sean O’Connell The day before the annual Academy Awards ceremony belongs to the Spirit Awards, when Hollywood’s independent film community – which currently reflects the Oscar community thanks to double-dipping films like “Black Swan,” “Winter’s Bone” and “The Kids Are All Right” – takes to the sands in Santa Monica for what host Joel McHale calls “the coolest awards show, because it’s casual, in a tent on a beach, and people are drinking, and vomiting.”

Let’s hope there isn’t as much throw up as McHale predicts. We wouldn’t want 2011 Spirit Awards nominees Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, James Franco, Ben Stiller or John C. Reilly slipping in someone else’s vomit on the way to the stage.

All kidding aside, the Spirit Awards are a laid-back affair, a lighter appetizer to the glamorous Oscars. The ceremony will be televised in IFC beginning at 10 p. »

- Sean O'Connell

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A Spirited Q & A With "Sweetgrass" Filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor

17 February 2011 11:24 PM, PST | | See recent IFC news »

As a way of celebrating this year's nominees for the Spirit Awards in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, we reached out to as many as we could in an effort to better understand what went into their films, what they've gotten out of the experience, and where they've found their inspiration, both in regards to their work and other works of art that might've inspired them from the past year. Their answers will be published on a daily basis throughout February.

Netflix describes "Sweetgrass" as a film that's "raunchy, understated." On its face, this is ridiculous statement: how could any movie be both raunchy and understated? But if any movie could fit those descriptors, it's "Sweetgrass," a quiet meditation on the last gasp of agrarianism in the American West and an unflinching look at some potty-mouthed cowboys. Some scenes do indeed combine verbal raunch and visual understatement. In one unforgettable sequence, »

- Matt Singer

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Spirit Awards Nominations: Part 3

20 January 2011 6:05 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

Best Documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" It's hard to know whether street artist Banksy's feature documentary is what it claims to be—a doc about an obsessive man who falls in love with the world of street art (where artists place their work in public, risking arrest for vandalism), fashioning himself as the most financially successful street artist in history—or is Banksy's best prank to date. The film follows the life of buffoonish French expatriate Thierry Guetta, a happy-go-lucky proprietor of an overpriced hipster-wear store in West Hollywood with the curious habit of videotaping everything that happens to him. Guetta persuades his cousin, a street artist known as Space Invader, to become the subject of a "documentary," which leads Guetta to other street artists like Obama icon-maker Shepard Fairey and ultimately to the white whale of street artists: the ultra-secretive Banksy (interviewed in silhouette, of course »

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2011 Film Independent Spirit Award Filmmaker Grant Winners Announced

16 January 2011 10:21 AM, PST | | See recent news » Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced the winners of its four filmmaker grant awards at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch held at Boa Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Sandra Oh and Terrence Howard hosted the casual event and handed out the honors.

Winners for the additional categories will be revealed at the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica beach on Saturday, February 26, 2011. The ceremony will air exclusively on IFC at 10:00 p.m. Et/Pt, and as previously announced, actor and comedian Joel McHale will serve as host.

“This is the 18th year we have given out these grant awards, and they have now helped 47 emerging artists share their work with a larger audience, pay bills for their film, or get them started on their next project,” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. »


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The Daily Notebook's 3rd Writers' Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2010

10 January 2011 8:02 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

With 2010 only a week over, it already feels like best-of and top-ten lists have been pouring in for months, and we’re already tired of them: the ranking, the exclusions (and inclusions), the rules and the qualifiers. Some people got to see films at festivals, others only catch movies on video; and the ability for us, or any publication, to come up with a system to fairly determine who saw what when and what they thought was the best seems an impossible feat. That doesn’t stop most people from doing it, but we liked the fantasy double features we did last year and for our 3rd Writers Poll we thought we'd do it again.

I asked our contributors to pick a single new film they saw in 2010—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they saw in 2010 to create a unique double feature. »

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