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17 articles


Dark Mood Woods: A Twin Peaks Podcast – Episodes 3 & 4

6 hours ago

Welcome to Dark Mood Woods: A Twin Peaks Podcast, in which Managing Editor Nick Newman and contributor Ethan Vestby discuss David Lynch‘s return to long-form filmmaking. This summer, join us as we offer insight and knowledge only devoted fans can bring, along with the curiosity of what, exactly, has been happening in the Pacific Northwest these last 25 years. In this discussion, we talk Episodes 3 and 4 as Cooper continues a strange journey, Lynch shows up, and the new face we’ve been most curious about arrives.

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MP3: Dark Mood Woods: A Twin Peaks Podcast – Episodes 3 & 4

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Illustration by artist Ben Holmes.

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- Nick Newman

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Cannes Review: ‘April’s Daughter’ Marks a High Point for Michel Franco

11 hours ago

Michel Franco has built a reputation as an actor’s director, with his films featuring no shortage of unforgettable lead performances. Tim Roth’s creepy leading turn in Chronic comes to mind, as well as Tessa Ia in the underseen, worthy After Lucia. The central character in Franco’s latest film, April’s Daughter (Las Hijas De Abril), is April, the mother from hell, played by Emma Suárez. While she reached new attention with Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta, her latest role confirms we’ll be hearing her name much more in the coming years.

April’s decision to visit her daughters in Puerto Vallarta takes both of them by surprise. Clara (Joanna Larequi) is quiet, depressed, and overweight, and her mom isn’t shy in telling her that either, even making her take laxatives to start a weight loss “program.” Her 17-year-old sister, Valeria (Ana Valeria Becerril), had an unexpected, »

- The Film Stage

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Cannes Review: ’24 Frames’ is an Experimental Swan Song for Abbas Kiarostami

12 hours ago

Cinema lost one of its pre-eminent pioneers when Abbas Kiarostami died on July 4, 2016. Over the course of his 46-year filmmaking career, the Iranian master never ceased to probe cinema’s ability to represent reality, finding ever new ways of destabilizing our gaze and compelling us to interrogate the images he put before us, as well as his own role in doing so. The final chapter in this extended experimentation is 24 Frames, which was as good as finished at the time of Kiarostami’s death and has now been released posthumously.

Originally, Kiarostami’s idea was to animate famous classical paintings, creating a collection of four-and-a-half-minute shorts that imagined what could have happened in the immediate run-up and aftermath of the instant immortalized by the painters, thus putting into perspective the artist’s decision to represent a specific slice of reality rather than any other. In the finished film, only the »

- Giovanni Marchini Camia

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Cannes Review: ‘A Ciambra’ Bends Social Realist Rules with Bracing, Unsentimental Drama

15 hours ago

Director Jonas Carpignano returns with his first film since Mediterranea (which broke out from Cannes Critics’ Week sidebar two years ago) to remind us that alpha male pecking orders are unavoidable in some parts of the world and that life is still incredibly difficult for Italian Romani. Examined through the microcosm of a four-generation strong family in a small settlement in Calabria in Southern Italy, A Ciambra follows the compelling coming of age story of a young man named Pio (Pio Amato) who is thrust into adulthood when his father and brother are locked up.

It would be a stretch to say that Carpignano diverts in any major way from the gritty aesthetic that has become synonymous with post-Dardennes (and, in particular, post-Rosetta) social realist cinema — all overcast clouds above and gravel below — nor those films’ favored narrative arc. It does, however, pulsate with true authenticity, surely down to the »

- Rory O'Connor

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Cannes Review: ‘Redoubtable’ Offers a Playful Pastiche on the Re-Radicalization of Jean-Luc Godard

17 hours ago

It’s more Pastiche du Godard than Histoire(s) du Godard in Michel Hazanavicius’ Redoubtable and that’s not a bad thing. The director’s slight but surprisingly playful account of nouvelle vague maestro Jean-Luc Godard’s marriage to actress Anne Wiazemsky and his re-radicalization in the late 1960s has the potential to infuriate the more devout of Godard followers but there is plenty of good-hearted goading and creative homage to savor for the less pedantic fan.

Honing in on a tumultuous time for Godard and his adoptive France, Hazanavicius charts the relationship between him and Wiazemsky from beginning — on the set of his 1967 film La Chinoise — to end, taking in the 1968 protests and subsequent student movement (“I like the movement, not the students,” he later exclaims) as well as Godard’s own abstract departures from his previous filmmaking methods. It marks a welcome return for the director (Michel that »

- Rory O'Connor

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The Film Stage Show Ep. 242 – Alien: Covenant

22 May 2017 8:39 PM, PDT

Welcome, one and all, to the newest episode of The Film Stage Show! This week, I am joined by Michael Snydel and Bill Graham, and we talk about the newest film in the long-running Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant, directed by Ridley Scott.

Subscribe on iTunes or see below to stream download (right-click and save as…).

M4A: The Film Stage Show Ep. 242 – Alien: Covenant

00:00 – 04:40 – Introductions

04:41 – 37:52 – Alien: Covenant Discussion

37:53 – 1:38:47 – Alien: Covenant Spoiler Discussion

The Film Stage is supported by Mubi, a curated online cinema streaming a selection of exceptional independent, classic, and award-winning films from around the world. Each day, Mubi hand-picks a new gem and you have one month to watch it. Try it for free at mubi.com/filmstage.

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- Brian Roan

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Watch: Nicole Kidman Flosses and Colin Farrell Shows His Hair in First ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ Clips

22 May 2017 8:17 PM, PDT

Yorgos LanthimosThe Killing of a Sacred Deer recently debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, where it proceeded to make an entire audience uncomfortable, as a Lanthimos film is wont to do. In our review, Giovanni Marchini Camia said that Lanthimos “creates a gripping and steadily intensifying sense of foreboding” while also noting the film was “inordinately vicious” and that “one can’t help but be disgusted by whoever took the time to think up atrocities this elaborate, never mind realizing them with such evident glee.”

In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Colin Farrell (who previously worked with Lanthimos on The Lobster) plays a surgeon forced to make “an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy (Barry Keoghan) he has taken under his wing turns sinister.” Nicole Kidman co-stars as Farrell’s wife, making this one of two Cannes films »

- The Film Stage

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First Look at Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried in Paul Schrader’s ‘First Reformed’

22 May 2017 8:00 PM, PDT

After last year’s reasonably well-received Dog Eat Dog, director Paul Schrader has already embarked upon his latest project, First Reformed. Apparently more in the vein of his more dramatic works than the crime thrillers he has made as of late, it follows an ex-military chaplain (Ethan Hawke) who, while grieving the recent death of his son, begins to uncover the unsavory secrets and unethical connections of his church to shady companies. Amanda Seyfried also stars as a recently widowed woman who Hawke’s character befriends.

Given that preview images have already been released and the film is being sold at the Marché du Film at Cannes, as detailed by The Hollywood Reporter, it seems likely that First Reformed could be ready for fall festivals, and pending distribution, we could see it sooner than later. Also starring Cedric the Entertainer, check out the first images above and below, and read our interview with Schrader here. »

- The Film Stage

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Dark Mood Woods: A Twin Peaks Podcast – Episodes 1 & 2

22 May 2017 6:33 PM, PDT

Welcome to Dark Mood Woods: A Twin Peaks Podcast, in which Managing Editor Nick Newman and contributor Ethan Vestby discuss David Lynch‘s return to long-form filmmaking. This summer, join us as we offer insight and knowledge only devoted fans can bring, along with the curiosity of what, exactly, has been happening in the Pacific Northwest these last 25 years. In this episode, we discuss the two-hour premiere, featuring familiar faces, strange locales, and new mysteries.

Subscribe on iTunes, follow on Soundcloud, or see below to stream/download (right-click and save as…).

MP3: Dark Mood Woods: A Twin Peaks Podcast – Episodes 1 & 2

Subscribe below:

Illustration by artist Ben Holmes.

E-mail us or follow on Twitter and Facebook with any questions or comments.

»

- Nick Newman

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Cannes Review: ‘The Rider’ is a Beguiling Docudrama Set in the American Plains

22 May 2017 2:23 PM, PDT

What does a cowboy do when he can’t ride? Chloe Zhao’s absorbing South Dakota-set sophomore feature has its titular rider come to terms with such a fate, in a film that’s a beguiling mix of docudrama and fiction whose story echoes much of history of its actors’ own lives. Zhao’s combination of the visual palette of Terrence Malick, the social backbone of Kelly Reichardt, and the spontaneity of John Cassavetes creates cinema verité in the American plains.

A Lakota Sioux on the prairies of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Brady (Brady Jandreau) is a hard-as-nails cowboy whose dreams of becoming a rodeo champ are dashed by a brutal head injury. The first scene has Brady in a down-and-dirty bathroom removing staples from his forehead, under which a metal plate keeps his fractured skull in place. Still recovering, he’s forbidden from getting back on horseback, but »

- Ed Frankl

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Cannes Review: ‘The Florida Project’ is Aesthetically Rich, But Narratively Slight

22 May 2017 1:46 PM, PDT

There are surely few sweeter delights in this troubling world of ours than seeing Willem Dafoe politely escort a group of storks off a motel driveway. It is, perhaps, the best of a number of striking visual flourishes in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, an aesthetically rich but narratively slight film that sees the writer-director (along with cinematographer Alexis Zabe) switch from the saturated and much-celebrated iPhone camerawork utilized for his last film Tangerine to the crackle and unmistakable warmth of celluloid.

Indeed, it proves a perfect tool for capturing the bizarre imitation-Disney hotels in which the film plays out, but could it be too beautiful for its own good? Baker indulges just a little too much time shooting his young hyperactive actors in off-key locations and perhaps not enough on their character development or narrative arcs.

Newcomers Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite play Moonee and Halley, respectively, a »

- Rory O'Connor

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Cannes Review: ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is Pure and Simple Sadism

22 May 2017 12:14 PM, PDT

With the successive features Dogtooth, Alps, and The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos seemed to be going down the same route as Wes Anderson, i.e. become one of those auteurs who refines rather than expands on his idiosyncrasies, making largely interchangeable films on an ever grander scale but with diminishing returns. In this regard, The Killing of a Sacred Deer represents a departure, venturing into genre territory previously uncharted by the director. Although a felicitous turn in principle, the dispiriting results suggest Lanthimos might have been better off staying on his original course after all.

It’s a pity, too, because for its first hour or so, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is extremely promising. Lanthimos creates a gripping and steadily intensifying sense of foreboding in depicting the professional and domestic life of his protagonist Steven (Colin Farrel), a successful heart surgeon with a picture-perfect family: beautiful wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and two teenage children, »

- Giovanni Marchini Camia

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Montclair Review: ‘No Man’s Land’ Goes Beyond Headlines of the Oregon Standoff

22 May 2017 8:15 AM, PDT

Documentaries such as David Byars’ fascinating No Man’s Land have an important function going beyond the headlines, memes, and talking points that prove to be difficult to make sense of in the moment. The film gets to the heart of the 41-day occupation of Harney County, Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge by militants led by Ammon Bundy. The son of right-wing hero Cliven Bundy, he makes a compelling argument at times and one that should be heard in front of Congress. The tactics, however, are a form of domestic terrorism. The protest is against the politics of the Bureau of Land Management (which unfortunately, and confusingly, shares an acronym with Black Lives Matter) which prohibit grazing on public lands, starving independent ranches and making American ranchers less competitive than their international competitors. They argue in favor of liberating federally protected lands in the west, giving back control to states and regional governments. »

- John Fink

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Cannes Review: ‘Promised Land’ Links the Death of the American Dream with Elvis Presley

22 May 2017 6:32 AM, PDT

A title like Promised Land can be appreciated for its duality: primarily meaning a land of promise but also, in another sense, a land that was promised. We’re talking about the United States of course, or rather filmmaker Eugene Jarecki is in his latest documentary. It’s an abstract road movie, fueled on disillusionment and rock and roll, and one that attempts the quite ambitious task of sketching out a narrative line to link the rise and decline of the nation with the rise and decline of Elvis Presley. If Jarecki struggles a little with this alchemy at times it is because Promised Land is essentially three movies in one: a detailed account of the King’s career; a loose account of the last 80 years of American politics; and a musical performance film. It can be a little jarring to shift between those gears but the director has form »

- Rory O'Connor

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Review: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ is an Overwrought, Unimaginative Adventure

22 May 2017 6:01 AM, PDT

Dead men tell no tales, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise should really stop telling them too. Unfortunately, Disney’s been beating this dead horse for far too long, and the fifth entry into the franchise is no exception. As the coldly calculated Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales proves, it is time to let this series rest in peace, or at the very least, spend the rest of its doomed, immortal days sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

The film opens with fraudulent promise as the young son of forever-cursed Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) is sinking himself to the depths of the deep blue, where he lands upon the deck of the Flying Dutchman. Once on board, Will Turner’s son Henry (Brenton Thwaites) argues with his barnacle-faced father, insisting that he knows how to break the curse that »

- The Film Stage

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Cannes Review: ‘Happy End’ is a Restrained Amalgamation of Michael Haneke’s Oeuvre

22 May 2017 5:53 AM, PDT

Happy End is a perplexing title for a movie by Michael Haneke, a filmmaker not exactly known for his irony whose endings have ranged from the death of all the central characters via murder and/or suicide (this has happened on four occasions) to the inception of Nazism. Lest anyone should suspect the redoubtable Austrian of growing soft, before the opening credits of Happy End have even finished rolling, a twelve-year-old has already killed her hamster and poisoned her mom, all of which she records and sarcastically comments on with a Snapchat-like app.

The girl is Eve Laurent (Fantine Harduin) and after these fun exploits she moves in with her father, Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz), who abandoned Eve and her mother several years prior and now lives with his new wife and child in the opulent Laurent manor together with the rest of the clan. The Laurents are quite the package: »

- Giovanni Marchini Camia

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‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’: Julian Schnabel’s Profoundly Cinematic Exercise in Empathy

22 May 2017 5:37 AM, PDT

Looking back on this still-young century makes clear that 2007 was a major time for cinematic happenings — and, on the basis of this retrospective, one we’re not quite through with ten years on. One’s mind might quickly flash to a few big titles that will be represented, but it is the plurality of both festival and theatrical premieres that truly surprises: late works from old masters, debuts from filmmakers who’ve since become some of our most-respected artists, and mid-career turning points that didn’t necessarily announce themselves as such at the time. Join us as an assembled team, many of whom were coming of age that year, takes on their favorites.

Has there ever been a more perfect pairing of medium and story than Julian Schnabel‘s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? Cinema, an optical art form whose audience views scenes that they are powerless to change, »

- The Film Stage

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