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Woody Allen’s Next Movie With Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone Titled ‘Irrational Man,’ Sony Pictures Classics Nab Rights

13 hours ago

Ok, there's no details, but Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American rights to Woody Allen’s next movie now titled, "Irrational Man." The film features a prestigious cast including Jamie Blackley, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey and Emma Stone. "Sony Classics and I have a good working relationship. I like the way they handle my movies, very special, very classy and I always hope my films live up to their expectations,” said Woody AllenSony Pictures Classics adds, "Woody Allen's new movie Irrational Man, his latest annual gift to moviegoers everywhere, is as fresh and winning as ever." Again, this tells us nothing, but there have been some seemingly-cogent rumors and talk that the movie is about a University professor (Phoenix) and his student (Stone) and their entanglements that may turn deadly (there's some reported details here if you'd like to take a look). Again, »

- The Playlist

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Watch: The Hulk & The Hulk Buster Armor Face Off In New ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ TV Spot + New Photos

13 hours ago

Let’s talk rumors and spoilers about “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” for a second and if you’d rather not, we’d completely understand and this is the point where you might wanna just scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out the new TV spot. Has “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” been spoiled to bits already? Honestly, many of us tried to stay away from reading some of these rumors, just as probably many of you did too, but reading any additional or subsequent stories about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s been extremely difficult to even avoid of the vaguer story beats, ideas and the direction where the universe is heading. So for one, and again, really *spoilers,* it really does sound like the rumors are true: ‘Age Of Ultron,’ will divide and break the ‘Avengers’ in half—first camel straw is the team mad at »

- Edward Davis

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Review: Kevin Costner's Misguided And Obtuse Race Relations Drama 'Black Or White'

13 hours ago

This is a reprint of our review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was almost a decade ago when Paul Haggis' "Crash" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and began its journey to the Academy Awards, where it would win three statues, including the Oscar for Best Picture. The backlash was swift, with the intervening years (somewhat unfairly) painting the movie as a mawkish, simplistic look at race relations in contemporary America. But no matter what your thoughts on the film, it's a work of courage, nuance and bravery when compared to Mike Binder's "Black Or White," a movie that lays down its thematic concerns broadly and clumsily, with all the obviousness of the title itself, while refusing to commit in any real way to the issues it confronts.  Kevin Costner plays hugely successful Los Angeles attorney Elliot Anderson, who has escaped down the bottle to cope with two devastating deaths. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Göteborg Review: Isabel Coixet's 'Learning To Drive' Starring Patricia Clarkson & Ben Kingsley

14 hours ago

If a film constantly, skilfully avoids the pitfalls and potholes of treacherous territory, if it swerves time and again away from "bad" just in the nick of time, is that the same as the film being actually good? This is the question that plagued us when watching Isabel Coixet's slight, wholly non-essential, yet surprisingly not-annoying, "Learning to Drive." An amiable, well-meaning story of fellow feeling extending across social boundaries, there's a kind of built-in worthiness to the premise that suggests something a lot duller and more tin-eared than Coixet's film delivers. Call it the Best Exotic Marigoldization of this niche subgenre (middle-aged-and-older white folks getting a new lease on life through exposure to previously unexplored cultures and philosophies), but with any logline involving a recently separated New York woman who finds comfort in an unlikely friendship with her India-born Sikh driving instructor, the specter of Orientalism and/or cultural. »

- Jessica Kiang

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Slamdance Review: Ambition & Narcissism Duel In 'Diamond Tongues'

15 hours ago

Edith (Leah Goldstein) is an actor. Or at least so she says. Even though she broke up with her boyfriend Ben (Adam Gurfinkel) in an effort to dedicate time to her career, her investment in the craft is casual. Her most notable stint was in a low-budget feature that didn't get released, and she doesn't have headshots or a reel of her work to give to producers or agents. She's worn the status of a struggling actor like a badge of honor until her lack of success is no longer cute anymore. When acquaintances start getting callbacks for TV shows, and her best friend Clare (Leah Wildman) nabs the lead role in a play, Edith's immature insecurity starts to surface in ugly ways. But things finally snap when she stumbles into an audition for a hilariously poorly named horror movie, "Blood Sausage," only to discover that Ben, who has recently decided to pursue acting himself, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: The Criterion Collection Looks At New Argentine Cinema & Lucrecia Martel’s 'La Ciénaga'

15 hours ago

Aside from Brazil and Mexico, Argentina has had perhaps the most well developed Latin American base for popular cinema, and it’s been home to a number of respected filmmakers for many years now. The late Fabien Bielinsky from Buenos Aires made a nice, twisty con man film in the form of 2000’s “Nine Queens,” and Juan José Campanella took home an Oscar for "The Secret In Their Eyes." Pablo Trapero has broken out with "Carancho" and "White Elephant." But Perhaps one of the most underappreciated filmmakers from this region is Lucrecia Martel.  She made a splash with her gentle, disturbing debut, “La Cienaga,” or as it translates in English, “The Swamp.” An actual swamp does figure in the movie’s plot in the early goings, but the title has a metaphorical resonance as well: “La Cienaga” is a slow-moving, largely plotless mood piece that drops in on one particularly »

- Nicholas Laskin

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Sundance Review: Documentary 'The Royal Road' Waxes Nostalgic On Life & History In The Golden State

15 hours ago

California has, historically, been a gleaming promise land, although one fortified in blood and conflict and built upon the broken dreams of prospectors and starlets and holy men. What the enveloping new documentary, "The Royal Road," does, fascinatingly, is juxtapose the history of the state with the personal life of Jenni Olsen, the writer/director/narrator, whose frank examination of her own existence eloquently compliments the trials and tribulations of The Golden State. Olsen initially describes herself as a "gender dysphoric tomboy," who looked to the state as a kind of promised land, where she could claim her individuality and follow her own path to happiness. This, of course, is not what happened. The film is divided into chapters, each detailing a failed relationship of Olsen's, and the first has a particular power since it's a long distance relationship, with Olsen living in San Francisco and her lover living in Los Angeles. »

- Drew Taylor

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Watch: Grace Hopper Gives Alan Turing A Run For His Money In Documentary 'The Queen Of Code'

16 hours ago

If one were to go strictly based off representations in film and television, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the world of computer programming/hacking/coding is primarily a man’s sport. The most recent example of this misguided notion would be the Oscar-friendly Alan Turing biopic “The Imitation Game,” which centers around a tortured-genius codebreaker.  And yet, Gillian Jacobs of “Community” is out to debunk the myth that the world of computing is strictly a boy’s club. "The Queen of Code," Jacobs' directorial debut, is primarily about Grace Hopper, a crack coding expert who, the film argues, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It’s a terrific and surprising look not only at Hopper’s indelible and funny personality — dry and witty, she was a former mathematics professor at Vassar and she made a hell of an impression on »

- Nicholas Laskin

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Sundance Review: Rape Revenge Horror 'Reversal'

16 hours ago

There’s some misguided notion floating around out there that rape revenge flicks are in some way feminist. That’s not to say that one can’t be feminist, but it must tread the most delicate of lines and be incredibly smart to pull that off. “Reversal” is not that film. It tries very hard to present its protagonist as a badass victim-turned-heroine, but it is not in the least bit cool or fun or awesome. It’s just further victimization and victim-blaming. And the rub is that the movie isn’t even scary or entertaining enough to justify being a horror movie. It’s just a really violent film about the horrors of sex-trafficking, and there are plenty of news articles I can read to be horrified by that particular topic. Eve (Really? Going that obvious with the metaphors, huh?), played by the actually rather good Tina Ivlev, is »

- Katie Walsh

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Marvel’s 'A.K.A. Jessica Jones' Adds Rachael Taylor As 'The Defenders' Character Hellcat

16 hours ago

Admittedly, it’s fascinating to watch Marvel build their Cinematic Universe as it applies to the small screen on Netflix. The movie and now TV branch of Marvel isn’t afraid of overlap, crossover, or pre-introduce characters before they get their own show. While “Daredevil” seems like it will be fairly stand-alone, "A.K.A Jessica Jones," starring Krysten Ritter, already has Luke Cage (Mike Colter) as part of the show. His solo series won’t come out until later, but it’s a smart way to introduce a character, especially given that the actor isn’t well-known yet. And it looks like the show will be doing even more world building. Today Marvel and Netflix announced that Aussie actress Rachael Taylor (“The Loft,” “Transformers”) will star as Patricia “Trish” Walker on 'Jessica Jones.' While there’s been some speculation and doubt that “Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones” will actually »

- Edward Davis

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Sundance Review: Amy Berg’s Chilling & Essential Polygamy & Mormonism Doc 'Prophet’s Prey'

16 hours ago

Nestled in a small pocket of Southwestern America, a growing sect of Mormonism makes its home, populating an insular community with true believers, hell-bent (in their case, perhaps “heaven-bent” would be more appropriate) on casting out all apostates. Years ago, author Jon Krakauer happened across the enclave, and it has consumed him ever since. Filmmaker Amy Berg feels similarly, and her “Prophet’s Prey” is (yet another) essential artifact from one of our finest documentarians. A complex and complete exploration of the The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and its criminal leader Warren Jeffs, Berg’s latest film is concisely put together and relentlessly honest in its depictions of what really happens within this Mormon offshoot — a “religion” where polygamy, child abuse, and rape run rampant — and the lauded leader responsible for perpetrating some of its worst transgressions. The film opens with an animated history lesson that briefly lays out the. »

- Kate Erbland

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Watch: Fascinating Video Essay 'The Geometry Of A Scene' Explores The Technique Of Akira Kurosawa

17 hours ago

“It’s like a lot of films one sees today. Not that I see very many, but to me they are what I call ‘photographs of people talking.’ It bears no relation to the art of the cinema, and the point is that the power of the cinema in its purest form is so vast because it can go over the whole world,” Alfred Hitchcock once said. That dissatisfaction with seeing modern-day directors simply shooting actors and cutting between a multitude of shots is what motivated the fine folks over at Every Frame A Painting to take a closer look at Akira Kurosawa’s visual style in a new short video essay. Running just over three minutes, “The Geometry of a Scene” focuses on a scene from Kurosawa’s 1960 corruption drama “The Bad Sleep Well,” and deconstructs how Kurosawa is able to derive tension from a relatively simple scene without cutting between multiple shots: instead, »

- Cain Rodriguez

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Sundance Review: 'Experimenter' With Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Anton Yelchin, And More

17 hours ago

There have been two films at Sundance this year focusing on influential studies in social behavioral science and the resulting repercussions. Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s “Stanford Prison Experiment” (review here) looked at the studies of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, while “Experimenter” from director Michael  Almereyda examines Dr. Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiment. While the experiment itself is fascinating, the approach taken by Almereyda in using distractingly peculiar storytelling techniques only succeed in distancing the audience from the film's inspiration. The beginning of the film is fantastic, focusing on the process of the experiment itself in painstaking detail. Participants are led into a room and selected as teacher or student: the teacher is then told to administer electric shocks to the student (in another room) if the latter fails to answer questions right. A supervising scientist encourages the teachers to keep going, even when screams and »

- Katie Walsh

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Watch: 6-Minute 'A Most Violent Year' Documentary Visits The Violence Of 1981

18 hours ago

While it didn't manage to snap up any Oscar nominations, a handful of other plaudits should be more than enough to convince you to check out "A Most Violent Year." Not to mention that it's coming from J.C. Chandor, one of the most fascinating and prolific filmmakers of the moment, and comprises a cast  including Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac and David Oyelowo. But if you have seen the movie —or maybe before you see it— perhaps it's best to understand the milieu against which it takes place. A24 has dropped a pretty nifty six-minute short documentary about New York City in the year 1981. It was the most violent year for the city on record, with more than 2100 murders. Yikes. Real New Yorkers recollect their memories of the time in this fascinating little peek into history, so give it a look. "A Most Violent Year" is now playing. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Göteborg Review: Danis Tanovic's 'Tigers' Gets Claws Out For Tale Of Multinational Greed

19 hours ago

If you consider this new film along with his last, the Berlin Silver Bear-winning "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," as well as the approach of his previous "Triage" and the Oscar-winning "No Man's Land," there can be no denying Bosnian director Danis Tanovic's powerful sense of social injustice and laudable desire to give earnest voice to the marginalized, the oppressed and the exploited, especially in conflict-riven or economically depressed situations. But it's an approach that requires a certain sacrifice, especially if it takes a reportedly true story as its basis —a sacrifice of the easier, more satisfying grand arcs of traditional narrative fiction: the fall-and-rise hero story, the David-and-Goliath narrative, or the familiar inspirational triumph-over-adversity theme. Real life and real problems tend not to fit into such tidy patterns, and if you wish to honor that reality and acknowledge the potentially warping factor of your own role. »

- Jessica Kiang

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Watch: 10-Minute Documentary 'The Legend Of Cambo' Directed By Harmony Korine

19 hours ago

Call it a late Christmas present, or maybe an early Valentine, but Harmony Korine has kicked off 2015 with a brand new documentary short "The Legend Of Cambo." It's the kind of wild tall tale that Korine likes to toss out occasionally, but in this case, it's not fiction. The ten-minute movie for Vice profiles the titular Cambo, who following his parents divorce decided to live in the woods. He was alone in the wilds of Alabama for two years. And as he shares in the much more beautifully shot than expected documentary, many of the most important moments of his life —including losing his virginity— happened in the great outdoors.  Cambo is the kind of personality perfectly suited for Korine, and this is a fascinating watch. Check it out below. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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The 10 Best Films Of 2008

19 hours ago

With 2015 upon us, we figured it was a good time to look back on the movies the millennium has brought us. We've dug into the archives and are re-running our Best of the 2000s pieces, from way back in 2009 when the Playlist was a little Blogspot site held together with tape and string. Each list runs down the top 10 films of each year (it's possible that, half-a-decade on, we'd put them in a different order and even change some of the movies, but we wanted to preserve the original pieces untouched as far as possible). Check out 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 if you missed them, and today we continue with 2008. The original piece follows below, and thanks to staffers past and present who contributed. As the decade came to a close, we have little to complain about. The second-half of the aughts were fantastic, yielding many of the best films of the aughts. »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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Watch: Marriage Is A Bummer For Mia Wasikowska In First Trailer For 'Madame Bovary'

19 hours ago

If you've been feeling like you need a little more nutrition with respect to your otherwise blockbuster-heavy cinematic diet, maybe "Madame Bovary" is worth digesting. The adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's novel, starring Mia Wasikowska, debuted at the Telluride Film Festival last fall, and hit Toronto and London not long after, but failed to make much of an impression. Anyway, it looks like its now headed to theaters, as the first trailer has arrived. Co-starring Henry Lloyd-HughesPaul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans and Ezra Miller with Sophie Barthes ("Cold Souls") directing, the movie tells the story of a country girl who seemingly marries into the gentry with a doctor. But she soon discovers he's got a PhD in Being No Fun, and the Madame takes up a romance with a dashing young suitor. Inevitably, corsets, lace and oh so many dramas ensue. Yet our review from Telluride didn't think much of the movie, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Everything Explodes In Pre-Game-Day 'Insurgent' Trailer

20 hours ago

I'm the worst at predicting which Ya franchise will take off and which will die on the vine. I thought both "Divergent" and "The Maze Runner" would flop hard, but clearly there is an audience for these things. And it's not just hardcore fans of the books either, as the mainstream has been turned into fans as well. And so here we are with "Divergent" sequel "Insurgent" and a pre-game-day ad (Aka our marketing budget doesn't allow for spending money on an actual Super Bowl spot) has arrived. I didn't see the first movie, so I'm not sure what it means to watch Tris smash her way out of a glass box, through Kate Winslet and into a dystopian skyline. I guess it looks cool though? Or something? Featuring Shailene Woodley, Naomi Watts, Miles Teller, and Octavia Spencer, I kinda wish all these people were doing something else, but hey, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Nicole Kidman Is Not Ready For Romance In First Clip From Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert'

20 hours ago

"Now, Nicole Kidman,” Werner Herzog said last summer about her lead performance in his upcoming "Queen Of The Desert." “Wait for that one. Wait for it. I make an ominous prediction: How good she is.” And well, we shall soon see. The filmmaker's anticipated drama is just a week or so away from being unveiled at the Berlin International Film Festival and the first clip has arrived. Featuring a pretty nice ensemble which includes the omnipresent James FrancoRobert Pattinson, and “Homeland” star Damian Lewis, the true-story film chronicles the life of Gertrude Bell, a British explorer, traveler, archaeologist and political officer. But as you'll see in this clip, romance is not part of the equation of her mission in the Middle Eastern desert, no matter how strong the pangs of passion. Watch below. Is this the Kidman performance we've been waiting for? Hit the comments section. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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