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Martin Scorsese To Direct Casino Ad Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro & Brad Pitt

1 hour ago

Yes, it’s for commercial purposes, but who doesn’t want to see this team work together? Martin Scorsese is adding to his busy schedule, and will be directing a short film to promote Melco-Crown Entertainment, a global resort and casino brand. The short will star early Scorsese favorite Robert DeNiro, late Scorsese favorite Leonardo Di Caprio and an unknown newcomer named Brad Pitt. Ratpac Entertainment’s Brett Ratner and Rsa’s Jules Daly will produce the film. The film’s content is not known, but it will probably be pretty glitzy. It will premiere next year at Melco-Crown’s new film-themed resort Studio City in Macau, so . It’s notable that even though DeNiro and DiCaprio are two of Scorsese’s favorites, this will be the first time they’ll work together in a Scorsese film (though outside of Scorese, they teamed on "This Boy's Life," with De Niro »

- Oktay Ege Kozak

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Park Chan-wook To Direct 'Fingersmith' Adaptation; Watch The Full 2005 BBC Production Starring Sally Hawkins

1 hour ago

After reportedly battling Fox Searchlight over "Stoker," and given the lukewarm response it received from critics and the box office, Park Chan-wook is going back home for his next feature. And it will be another opportunity for the stylish director to put his imprint on a different sub-genre of film. Screen Daily reveals that Park will direct an adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel "Fingersmith." It's a Dickensian tale of female thieves, but this Korean-language take will take place when the country was under Japanese rule. Here's the Amazon synopsis of the novel:  Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: New Trailer For 'Monsters: Dark Continent' Brings The Battle To

2 hours ago

What made Gareth Edwards' "Monsters" so refreshing and "Godzilla" so disappointing is that the former film brought a sense of atmosphere, beauty and awe to the monster movie genre. While Edwards was criticized for playing hide-and-go-seek with the titular creature in this past summer's blockbuster, his feature debut worked because there was no history attached to his creature, and so the mystery sustained much more beautifully and evocatively. But no one really goes to the multiplex these days for those qualities, and so it's not a shock that the Edwards-less sequel "Monsters: The Dark Continent" seems to up the thrills and kill the nuance. A new trailer has arrived for the Tom Green-directed movie, and it multiplies the number of monsters tenfold, brings in the military and paints the proceedings in a pretty thin, not particularly well elaborated terrorism allegory. That said, the action does look intense: we did enjoy the dog vs. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Telluride Review: Ophir Award Nominee 'Dancing Arabs'

2 hours ago

"Dancing Arabs" indulges in a peculiar kind of late ‘80s/early ‘90s nostalgia: a fond wistfulness for a time in the Middle East when Jews and Arabs mostly despised each other, but actual casualties from terrorism or reprisals were few… friendships across the racial/religious divide were more common… and the dream that a West Bank boy and Israeli girl could date only seemed 99 percent impossible. As quaint longings for a more innocent era go, this beats getting misty over Roxette. The coming-of-age film had its American premiere in Telluride after bowing at the Jerusalem Film Festival, in the city where it was largely shot. Its loosely-based-on-a-true-story narrative concerns Eyad (Tawfeek Barhom) being sent off by his proud Arab parents to attend Jerusalem’s finest school; that his ex-activist dad dislikes Jews as much as the next guy isn’t even a factor. In study hall, he falls hard for »

- Chris Willman

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Focus World Picks Up David Cronenberg's 'Maps To The Stars' For 2015 Release, Might Be VOD-Only

3 hours ago

With strong reviews out of the Cannes Film Festival (read ours), appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival on the horizon, and an imminent U.K. release (check out the trailer), you might think that it would be a priority for eOne to get David Cronenberg's "Maps To The Stars" into theaters stateside Asap. But it appears that's not the case. In fact, the distributor has handed the movie off to Focus World, which means you'll be waiting a lot longer to see this film, and it may not even be on a big screen near you. Screen Daily reports whatever awards season chances "Maps To The Stars" might've had (three time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore won Best Actress in Cannes for her turn in the movie) have been snuffed out, as the film won't be released in the U.S. until early 2015. What's more, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Telluride Review: Nick Broomfield's 'Tales Of The Grim Sleeper'

3 hours ago

Nick Broomfield’s new documentary is a little bit "Dateline," a little bit Ferguson. "Tales of the Grim Sleeper" offers up the identity of the titular serial killer in the opening minutes, but it still revolves around a whodunit. Or, really, a who-didn’t-do-anything, since the movie’s central mystery is why the Lapd took decades to find a killer believed to have murdered dozens (maybe hundreds, Broomfield suggests) of african-american prostitutes over a 25-year period in perpetually troubled South Central L.A. The likeliest answer to that puzzle of apparent police inaction may be so self-evident as to not generate much suspense. But Broomfield still has a knack for keeping audiences grim and alert, thanks to an inexhaustible ability to find indelible characters to put on screen. 'Grim Sleeper' ultimately turns out to be less about ineffectual policing in the African-American community —although that angle is clearly more relevant »

- Chris Willman

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Watch: New Trailer For 'Dracula Untold' Starring Luke Evans Unleashes The Power To Destroy

4 hours ago

So have you been waiting for a Dracula movie where the dark lord is handsome, husky and fighting for his family? Well, Bram Stoker's creation is getting dusted off for a reboot: Universal is prepping "Dracula Untold," and a new international trailer tells the story of the bloodsucker before he became a bloodsucker.  Luke Evans takes the lead as Vlad Tepes, a nobleman eager to stop a war that will put the life of his son at risk. But to do so, he must make a deal with an evil power that will see him cursed for all time with a taste for blood, as well as being soundtracked by a band that sounds like Evanescence. The whole thing follows the "gritty equals better" template that Hollywood cannot seem to shake, and the effort here by director Gary Shore seems pretty joyless. While we suppose that's the point, it »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Venice Review: Roy Andersson's 'A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence'

5 hours ago

Unlike stupid real Christmas, cinephile Christmas only comes every eight years or so. That’s how long it's taken Swedish legend Roy Andersson to mount each of the films in his “trilogy about being a human being.” This morning in Venice, however, when we checked under the tree, there it was: the final part of that trilogy, a film laboring under/reveling in the cumbersome title of “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.” It is immediately the world we know from the first two films in the trilogy, “Songs from the Second Floor” and “You, The Living” —hypnotic, meticulous, rendered in shades of gray and beige, and marked by silica gel humor (not just dry, a desiccant). Playing out in Andersson’s unique storytelling style, borne of the desire to have every scene work as a contained entity, ‘Pigeon’ is a near-perfect cap to a near-perfect trilogy, »

- Jessica Kiang

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Watch: First Trailer For Abel Ferrara's 'Pasolini' Starring Willem Dafoe

19 hours ago

Abel Ferrara has always been known for creating characters and stories that delve into  extreme human behaviour, but his last couple of films have concerned events that he did not have to dream up. This summer, the filmmaker unveiled "Welcome To New York," the fictionalized tale of former Imf chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and now, just a couple of months later, Ferrara is in Venice where he's premiering "Pasolini," a feature about controversial, slain filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. And a pretty great first trailer for the film has arrived. Vacillating between English, Italian and French, this looks to be a respectful and quite beautiful look at the director who brought "Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom" and "The Gospel According To St. Matthew" to cinemas. The movie will focus on the events surrounding Pasolini's murder: while a male prostitute initially confessed to the crime, he later said the act was coerced via. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Venice Review: Larry Clark’s ‘The Smell Of Us’ Featuring Michael Pitt... And Larry Clark

22 hours ago

A prime example of what we’ve just now dubbed “le cinema du entre-jambes,” or “crotch cinema,” Larry Clark’s “The Smell of Us” is a film so horrible it manages to significantly outdo the repulsiveness of its title. Having waded through Clark’s entire back catalogue some time ago (the things we do for Film Criticism), we were semi-apologists for his last movie, “Marfa Girl,” in which amid the sine qua non teen sex we thought we detected the green shoots of a more narrative-based direction, as well as some coherent characterization. “The Smell of Us” however, jettisons all of that in its portrait of disaffected youth (what else?) in Paris in favor of mindlessly repetitive and 100%, no-question-about-it exploitative, sequences of pretty young men engaging in various sexual activities. But that’s not to say Clark has nothing new up his crusty sleeve — this time out he's added himself to the mix, »

- Jessica Kiang

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Telluride Review: Martin Scorsese's 'The 50 Year Argument'

1 September 2014 8:33 AM, PDT

One of the greater pleasures of watching "The 50 Year Argument," a new documentary about the history of the New York Review of Books, is anticipating its HBO premiere on Sept. 29th and imagining just how torturous this saga of a venerable literary journal might be for anyone who chanced upon the channel hoping to come across an episode of "Taxicab Confessions." The closest thing TV viewers will get to a true confession is Joan Didion admitting that she both knew very little and cared very little for national party politics when the magazine implored her to go write about a Democratic convention. Hard to believe they got this chick to sign a release after that, right? But seriously, the most likely reason this particular documentary is getting a prime-time berth on HBO —or that it saw its American theatrical premiere at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend— is Martin Scorsese »

- Chris Willman

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Lars von Trier's Next Project A Massive TV Series That's "Without Precedent"

1 September 2014 7:13 AM, PDT

It could be argued that all of Lars von Trier's efforts are "without precedent": singular visions from the mind of a filmmaker truly like no other. Because really, who else would've put together a five-and-a-half hour epic about a sex addict that starts with the woman being found beaten in an alley? And even as von Trier closes the book on "Nymphomaniac," with director's cuts of both volumes screening for the first time together at the Venice Film Festival, he's got another big project on the way. The director —who vowed never to speak to the press again following his Nazi comment controversy at the Cannes Film Festival— appeared via video link at Venice over the weekend during the press conference for "Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut" (check out three Nsfw new clips here) and revealed his next project. Sort of. He didn't say anything (though at one »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Telluride Review: 'Escobar: Paradise Lost' Starring Benicio Del Toro And Josh Hutcherson

1 September 2014 6:49 AM, PDT

You know that deeply anxious expression that Josh Hutcherson wears throughout "The Hunger Games" movies? Well, if you’re a fan of his trademark chagrined countenance, you get a whole lot more of it in "Escobar: Paradise Lost," where his character has a pretty good reason for near-constant concern. In this potboiler, Hutcherson’s a white boy (obviously) who’s pledged to marry into the family of famed Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. What, he worry? At some point you may wonder why we’ve devoted an entire first paragraph to Josh Hutcherson when the title character is played by Benicio freaking Del Toro, the sort of dream casting that would seem to be a lede that shouldn’t be buried. Unfortunately, Escobar is a supporting character in his own movie, a situation that brings to mind "The Last King of Scotland," which enlisted Forest Whitaker to play Idi Amin »

- Chris Willman

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Venice Review: ‘Far From Men’ Starring Viggo Mortensen And Reda Kateb

1 September 2014 6:11 AM, PDT

Taking the conventions of Western films to different countries, planets, time periods or political situations is hardly new, but when it's done well, it never gets old. The French-language “Far From Men,” aka “Loin des Hommes,” from writer/director David Oelhoffen, which transposes classic Western archetypes to the Algerian Civil War, is a terrific reminder of just that. It does not reinvent the wheel, nor is it a po-mo deconstruction of the Western myth or a pastiche. It is simply a great, traditional Western: the language and cultural details may be different, but the sparse elegance and moral conundrums are familiar and as resonant as ever. Based on Albert Camus’ short story “The Guest” and boasting a fitting yet never clichéd soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and a pair of flawless lead performances from Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb, “Far From Men” is a quietly grand, beautiful film. »

- Jessica Kiang

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