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Sundance 2013 Review: Before Midnight is Joy Revisited

27 January 2013 3:19 PM, PST

Not every movie needs its audience to know nothing about the plot or story going in. We live in a world of trailers and twitter and even spoilers from Lego toys. But the plain fact is, you will enjoy the third installment of Richard Linklater's 'Before...' series, Before Midnight, more if you know nothing. The knowledge that nine years have passed in the lives of Ethan Hawke's Jesse and Julie Delpy's Celine is all you need. Therefore, many of the details revealed here, while not spoilers in the traditional review context, could lessen the wonderful revelatory impact the film delivers. Consider yourself warned. Before Midnight opens as Jesse says goodbye to his 14-year-old son Hank at a Greek regional airport. It doesn't take long...

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Full Disclosure: Twitch's Lists of Shame - January (Part 2)

27 January 2013 10:00 AM, PST

January's List of Shame entries continue on apace.You can find the first part of this month's list here, and the project's formal introduction right here.Easy Rider (dir. Dennis Hopper, 1969, USA)Winner of "Best First Work" at Cannes Film Festival, nominated for 2 Academy AwardsBrian Clark, European EditorI've long been aware of Easy Rider's place in the cannon of American cinema, how it captured the cultural shift at the end of the 60s, played a key role in ushering in the "New Hollywood" movement, and, if you want to get cynical, proved the counter-culture to be a viable movie market. These are all things mentioned when people talk about Easy Rider, but in my experience, they say very little about the film itself. Now that I've finally...

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Full Disclosure: Twitch's Lists of Shame - January (Part 1)

27 January 2013 8:00 AM, PST

And so it begins...While there are certainly wrong ways to approach this feature - either as a contributor or a reader - there are many different right ways to do so. For a full debriefing on exactly what we are setting out to accomplish with this once-a-month feature, the rules, guidelines, restrictions and the intricacies of the logistics, please take a moment to read my formal introduction here. Suffice to say that this is January, and more than 20 of my esteemed colleagues have sought out and finally laid to rest a noted classic from each of their personal Lists of Shame. Where possible, I did my best to coordinate writers to see the same film on the same month so that we can compare notes,...

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Sundance 2013 Awards: Fruitvale And Blood Brother Win Big

26 January 2013 7:43 PM, PST

It's been a long 10 days of festival madness, but Sundance is finally wrapping up this weekend. Check out our Sundance Film Festival Hub for all our reviews that will continue to roll out over the next week. Tonight brought the much anticipated Sundance awards ceremony. Let's get right to the winners. Park City, Ut -- Sundance Institute this evening announced the Jury, Audience, Next <=> and other special awards of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the feature film Awards Ceremony, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Park City, Utah. An archived video of the ceremony in its entirety is available at www.sundance.org/festival. John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, "The films at our Festival this year truly reflect the unbridled passion, immense...

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Sundance 2013 Interview: Wrong Cops with Quentin Dupieux, Mark Burnham, Steve Litte, Arden Myrin and Eric Wareheim

26 January 2013 6:00 PM, PST

The day after Quentin Dupieux unveiled the first half of Wrong Cops, his follow up to Wrong, I had the opportunity to sit down with Quentin and the cast to discuss this wonderfully wacky work in progress. The cast memebers present were Mark Burnham (Wrong), Steve Little (Eastbound & Down) Arden Myrin (MADtv) and Eric Wareheim (Tim and Eric Awesome Show). You have a production style that is very run and gun. Minimal lighting, rigging, etc. This makes for a very fast paced shoot and energetic atmosphere, but along with the many benefits, there are also some compromises. Quentin Dupieux: Unfortunately, that's the only way I know. When I started making short films when I was 15, I was dealing with this. I have a...

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Sundance 2013 Review: The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman is the Unnecessary Death of a Potentially Good Movie

26 January 2013 1:35 PM, PST

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is perhaps the worst film I've seen in a very, very long time. It stars Shia Labeouf as the possibly-doomed titular role. Charlie just watched his mother (Melissa Leo, in the most tragically underused role possible) die at the hospital. After taking some painkillers to deal with his anxiety of what he just witnessed, he has an imaginary conversation with her, and she tells him to go on a trip to really start living life. It's supposed to be a coming-of-age love story, but it winds up being more of a coming-of-enrage story for us, the audience.When Charlie is on the plane to his new destination, he converses with an aggressively gregarious passenger. This passenger tells him about his...

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Black Movie 2013 Review: Today (Aujourd'hui) Puts a New Spin on Dying

26 January 2013 11:00 AM, PST

Normal 0 false false false En-us X-none X-none From Ikiru to The Bucket List, there are already a number of movies made about people who find out they have a short time to live. However, I can safely say that none of them are quite like Today (Aujourd'hui). Set in Senegal, director Alain Gomis' meditation on the inevitability of death glides between surrealism, music, tragedy and documentary-like realism, resulting in a unique, touching and surprisingly laid-back film. Though the disparate ingredients occasionally clash and confuse the tone, Today never quite loses footing thanks to the powerful, subdued presence of the very talented slam poet/music artist (and now actor), Saul Williams. In the film, Satche (Williams) wakes up one day with the knowledge that he...

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Iffr 2013 Review: Frankenstein's Army Is Out To Get You

26 January 2013 9:30 AM, PST

This is the kind of film where "tripping over your own legs" doesn't necessarily mean they're still attached... Richard Raaphorst's debut feature film Frankenstein's Army has its world premiere today at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. And it's about time: we've been rooting for Raaphorst to get something in cinemas for what feels like decades already. Ever since we saw those magnificent promos for the abolished project called Worst Case Scenario, anticipation has been running wild for what this man can do. And now the wait is over. Did Raaphorst deliver? Well, while we don't get the huge floating army of balloon zombots seen in one of those old promos (for shame!), Frankenstein's Army is still a whole lot of fun. The Story: It's near...

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Black Movie 2013 Review: Carlos Reygadas Brings the Devil Home in Post Tenebras Lux

26 January 2013 6:00 AM, PST

As I review more and more films out of festivals, I'm beginning to notice a pattern: I'm much more forgiving and enthusiastic about films that shoot the moon and fall somewhere short than with serviceable movies trodding well-worn territory that leave little to criticize. Which brings me to Carlos Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux, a film which is audacious, frustrating, beautiful, shocking, emotional, impossible, perhaps brilliant, or, just as likely, a misfire. At times it's exhilarating, at other times it felt like trying to put together a puzzle that not only has pieces missing, but also has some pieces from other puzzles mixed in. But enough overwrought description - my point is that Post Tenebras Lux is not at all conducive to the type of review...

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Review: Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam

26 January 2013 4:30 AM, PST

After a nine year absence from the director's chair, Indian national treasure Kamal Haasan is back with a film that he has been fighting to make for a long, long time. Vishwaroopam is a film that will, inevitably, be remembered as much for its bumpy road to the screen as it will be for its objective quality. The film has been in the news in India for months, partly due to some clever publicity stunts engineered by Mr. Haasan, and partly due to lingering concerns in politically-correct India that it would be offensive to Muslims, the country's second largest religious group. In fact, as of this review, the film is still under a ban in its native Tamil Nadu due to what some are saying...

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Commercials Director Nic Mathieu Attached To Live Action Robotech

25 January 2013 7:00 PM, PST

The long gestating Warner Bros. Robotech project has its first director attached to the project. I only say it that way because the screenplay has changed hands so many times,  why not simply accept that commercials director Nic Mathieu could be one of many names attached to it by the time cameras start rolling? There is, of course, no safe bet, as the transition from short films and commercials to full fledged features has proven difficult for some (Carl Rinsch anyone?) . Mathieu, like others before him, has proven adept at fusing terrific CG effects with live action elements, as you can see below in one of his commercials. And with giant robot movies Pacific Rim and Transformers 4 being the action cinema du jour this year, it should...

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Sundance 2013 Review: C.O.G. Paints a Riveting Portrait of Self-Discovery

25 January 2013 6:20 PM, PST

Have you ever wanted to unplug from the world? I mean, really, really unplug. Not for a day, or a week, but for as long as you can possibly can. Or even better, what about giving life a change and doing something completely out of your comfort zone? I have this fantasy that one day I'll disappear from the online world and years later you'll find me working on a boat, gutting fish in a long beard and looking tough. But let's be honest, that'll never happen. I'm not brave enough to step outside of what I know best. But you know who was? David Sedaris. If you're reading this, chances are you're aware of who the highly celebrated Sedaris is from his acclaimed essays...

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Sundance 2013 Review: Breathe In is Another Heartbreaking Romance from Doremus

25 January 2013 4:00 PM, PST

Drake Doremus does one thing very, very well. Doremus is a master at making the audience feel the emotions of his characters -- without relying on the typical protagonist story structure. His 2011 Sundance Us Dramatic Competition-winning Like Crazy took us inside both ends of a long distance relationship, creating a palpable sense of desire, frustration, and ultimately, love. It was also a true two-hander with neither Anton Yelchin's Jacob or Felicty Jones's Anna being protagonists in the traditional sense. This same attitude towards story telling is on display in Doremus's latest effort, Breathe In. While love is just as much the subject in this film as in Like Crazy, it's a very different kind of love on trial than the long-distance romantic love...

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NYC Happenings: Film Comment Selects Announces Their 2013 Slate

25 January 2013 3:30 PM, PST

Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Michel Gondry and Antonio Campos, Oh My!From February 18 - 28 The Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting their 13th edition of Film Comment Selects, a veritable what's what of films from the last year on the festival circuit as well as a few older, lesser-seen gems. This year's selection includes the U.S. premiere of Japanese Master Kurosawa Kiyoshi 's 4 hr. epic Penance, the latest from Portuguese centenarian Manoel de Oliveira's Gebo And The Shadow, as well as Ben Wheatley's much-talked about Sightseers (pictured above). Get the full slate below: New York, NY (January 25, 2013) --- The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today the lineup for the upcoming 13th edition of Film Comment Selects (February 18-28), Film Comment...

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Fabulous First Trailer For Rotterdam Opener The Resurrection Of A Bastard

25 January 2013 1:00 PM, PST

I have no idea what's gotten into the water supply in the Netherlands, but I want some. Though Dutch cinema has long been dominated by pure arthouse offerings there is a new generation of Dutch talent rising who seemingly suckled at the teat of the Coen Brothers, Jim Jarmusch and others so inclined to fuse commercial storylines with indie quirk and personality. And the latest example of such is Guido Van Driel, a graphic novelist turned director whose The Resurrection of a Bastard - an adaptation of his own graphic novel - is the opening film of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.An old Frisian farmer bent on revenge. A criminal from Amsterdam barely surviving a liquidation. An illegal immigrant with uncertain prospects. Eventually, they meet...

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Slamdance 2013 Exclusive Video: Feast On The Anarchy That Is Slamdance!

25 January 2013 12:30 PM, PST

The awards have been given, the screening rooms and offices are being disassembled as we speak, but Slamdance 2013 lives on and today we have a little video treat from the Slamdance TV gang of Ben Hethcoat and Michal Felker. Ben and Mike (along with Eric Ekman) do interviews with the fest's filmmakers and do cool little shorts like the one you can watch below. So what is it? It's a trailer for their Anarchy shorts program which is now available for anyone to watch on the VOD service Cineqliq. The Diy zaniness of such a video will give you a hint of just how fun it is to be here in Park City.  ...

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Watch Out Tony Jaa & Johnny Tri Nguyen, Here's Vidyut Jamwal In The Trailer For Commando - A One Man Army

25 January 2013 12:00 PM, PST

"No stunt doubles, no computer images, no strings attached"This was the tagline that accompanied Tony Jaa's Ong Bak when it appeared on the world's radar back in 2003-2004. Since then Jaa has gone a wee bit crazy and has succumbed to wire-fu. In his stead we have fast rising Vietnamese star, Johnny Tri Nguyen, who has devastated screens with rip roaring performances in films like The Rebel and Clash. It looks like it may be time to add another name to the list of home-grown, all-natural martial arts stars, and it is India's Vidyut Jamwal.Jamwal is a relatively new face on the scene, making his first appearance on-screen in 2011's coming of age story, Stanley Ka Dabba. However, it was in John Abraham's Force, a...

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Sundance 2013 Review: Blackfish is an Important Look at Animal Captivity

25 January 2013 11:30 AM, PST

Blackfish is the latest documentary from Gabriela Cowperthwaite. It chronicles a series of injuries and deaths at SeaWorld theme parks by their captive orca whales. The main through-line is the case of Dawn Brancheau, a senior animal trainer and safety guru at the Orlando park, who was unexpectedly killed in 2010 by Tilikum, an orca that is both the most dangerous and treasured asset of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. The story begins with Tilikum's capture the coast of Iceland and journey to SeaLand of the Pacific, a now defunct marine theme park in British Columbia. From the first interviews of the documentary on, one immediately starts to question the morality of removing these magnificent creatures from the wild and displaying them for our entertainment....

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Spanish Films The Orphanage, Julia's Eyes and More Slated for Remakes

25 January 2013 11:00 AM, PST

Spanish fantastic film has been having an incredible renaissance over the past 15 years. From Álex de la Iglesia to Alejandro Amenábar to Nacho Vigalondo, all range of horror, science fiction and fantasy has been pouring out of the country, to be embraced by cinephiles and cult film enthusiasts. And Spanish production company Rodar y Rodar is taking advantage of this new wave, not only by producing new films, but remaking some for those filmgoers who don't like to read subtitles.According to Screen Daily, English-language remakes are in the works for Juan Antonio Bayona's The Orphanage (a film that already did well in the Us market for a non-English film), Guillem Morales' Julia's Eyes and The Uninvited Guest (the latter of which, according to rumor, will be directed by...

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Siren Visual Releases The Complete Collection of Detective-Twist Anime Un-go On Australian DVD

25 January 2013 10:30 AM, PST

Un-Go is the latest from the team behind anime smash Full Metal Alchemist and operates on a completely different level, although retaining the signature clean and cool Bones animation. Twitch colleague Charles Webb covered the Us BluRay release extensively in his excellent review, the following is a modified excerpt from his article which can be found in full here.Detective anime Un-Go is more interesting for its literary roots than anything actually onscreen. The 11-episode series follows troubled detective Shinjuurou Yuuki as he investigates a series of high-profile mysteries years after a string of terrorist attacks in near future Japan. Each case deals in some way with the nexus of corruption and collusion among the ruling elite and media, with a jarring supernatural twist that keeps Un-Go from ever really working.Un-Go is based on the works...

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