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

8 hours ago

Abel Ferrara has always been known for creating characters and stories that delve into the most extreme of human behaviours, but for his latest couple of films, he's tackled real life people whose actions speak for themselves. Earlier this year 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 famed and controversial filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. And a pretty great first trailer has arrived. Dipping between English, Italian and French, this looks to be a rather 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 Pasolini's final days, and the events surrounding his murder. While a male prostitute initially confessed to the crime, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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

11 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 any good will we may have had for the filmmaker in its portrait of disaffected youth (what else?) in Paris. This film revels in 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 »

- Jessica Kiang

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

13 hours ago

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"

15 hours ago

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

15 hours ago

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

16 hours ago

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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