VENICE: ‘Alps’ and other drugs

Posted by · 11:57 am · September 3rd, 2011

The first few days of the Venice Film Festival were so jam-packed with the big-name premieres you’ve been most restless to hear about that, between thrashing out full-length individual reviews of those and negotiating the braided Venice obstacles of crippling humidity and crippled wi-fi facilities, my usual roundups of less flashy fare got a bit […]

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REVIEW: “A Dangerous Method” (**1/2)

Posted by · 8:50 am · September 2nd, 2011

Venice Film Festival “Do you think they know we’re on our way, bringing them the plague?” So asks Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud of his younger colleague Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), as the two approach New York City to gift the untreated denizens of America with their equally grueling brands of psychoanalysis, in the closing stretch […]

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REVIEW: “W.E.” (*1/2)

Posted by · 11:47 pm · September 1st, 2011

Venice Film Festival There’s such a bounty of ripe absurdities in Madonna’s sophomore directorial effort “W.E.” — an over-the-spectacles glance at the supposedly for-the-ages romance of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, blending the story of “The King’s Speech,” the structure of “Julie & Julia,” the styling of “A Single Man” and the collected smarts of […]

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REVIEW: “Carnage” (**1/2)

Posted by · 7:50 am · September 1st, 2011

Venice Film Festival When the title of Yasmina Reza’s acclaimed 2006 play “God of Carnage” was given a haircut in its transition to the screen, it was hard to read what — if anything — the change implied about the film to come. On the one hand, “Carnage” sounds pithier and more aggressive, removing the […]

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REVIEW: “The Ides of March” (***)

Posted by · 7:14 am · August 31st, 2011

Venice Film Festival “I’m not a Christian. I’m not an atheist. I’m not a Muslim. I’m not Jewish. I believe in the American constitution,” intones a spiffily-suited and even fresher-faced-than-usual Ryan Gosling as the opening line of “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s crisp, diverting and typically (even overly) studious political thriller. Standing at the […]

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VENICE: Follow the Lido — a festival preview

Posted by · 9:14 am · August 30th, 2011

“Why Venice and not Toronto?” a colleague asked when I mentioned I was heading to the Lido for the world’s oldest film festival for the third straight year. Given the North American bent of this site, it was a fair question, but also one I found easy to answer — and not just for the […]

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‘Tinker, Tailor’ joins the December club

Posted by · 11:06 am · August 29th, 2011

American viewers already frustrated about waiting two months longer than the Brits to lay eyes on Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” — welcome to our world, guys — won’t be pleased by Pete Hammond’s revelation in a recent column that the wait has been extended by three weeks. Yes, Focus Features has pushed the […]

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Gervais invited to repeat at Globes — but what about Oscars?

Posted by · 6:38 am · August 29th, 2011

Obviously it’s too early to be concerned about who’s hosting next year’s Golden Globe ceremony. The day before next year’s Golden Globes ceremony would to be concerned about that. But the pre-weekend news that Ricky Gervais has been invited (if not confirmed) to emcee the show, in his typically irreverent manner, for a third straight […]

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‘Tyrannosaur’ trailer

Posted by · 4:30 am · August 25th, 2011

Paddy Considine’s directorial debut was one of the international success stories at this year’s Sundance fest, nabbing awards for both Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan’s performances, as well as one for Considine’s direction. I saw the film, a bruising, thoughtful portrait of abuse and emotional isolation in suburban England, and found the hype more than […]

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‘The Artist’ poster

Posted by · 9:54 am · August 24th, 2011

I recall our learned friend Anne Thompson responding with scepticism when I mentioned over a Cannes lunch that I expected Michel Hazanavicius’s “The Artist” to be a major player in this year’s Oscar race. Looks like Anne has come round to the idea over the summer, as she — together with Steve Pond and David […]

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Meirelles’s ‘360’ to open London fest

Posted by · 9:20 am · August 24th, 2011

I’m trying not to think too much about my hometown film festival right now — with the chaos of Venice only a week away, the idea of diving into another five-films-a-day fortnight shortly afterwards seems somewhat deadly. Still, with this week essentially amounting to the calm before the storm, now is as good a time […]

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Three more join the foreign Oscar fray

Posted by · 3:50 pm · August 22nd, 2011

With the deadline for submissions not even six weeks away, expect a number of posts in this vein before then; for now, however, the number of formal entries for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar has swelled to a modest five. While the first two in the game, Greece and Poland, were reasonably high-profile contenders […]

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Penn on Malick, part deux

Posted by · 4:25 am · August 22nd, 2011

I originally posted this in the previous comment thread, but since the web seems to have latched onto this story, I think it’s worth highlighting more prominently. The media is determined to interpret Sean Penn’s fairly reasoned personal reservations about “The Tree of Life” as some kind of ego-driven attack — but before everyone starts […]

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REVIEW: “One Day” (***)

Posted by · 6:41 pm · August 19th, 2011

“I love you, Dexter, I just don’t like you anymore,” a radiantly moist-eyed Anne Hathaway tells a radiantly plastered Jim Sturgess at a crucial emotional juncture in “One Day,” Lone Scherfig’s attractive, involving and curiously unmoving attempt to replicate the cosy, literate-but-not-too-literary British comforts of her 2009 “An Education.” Cribbed by screenwriter David Nicholls from […]

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FIPRESCI names ‘The Tree of Life’ film of the year

Posted by · 10:38 am · August 19th, 2011

Well, did anyone expect otherwise? FIPRESCI, the international association of film critics that routinely hands out its own award at film festivals, has named Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” the winner of its annual Grand Prix award — for the film voted the year’s finest in a poll of their 200-plus membership. (Before anyone […]

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Hey Academy, why not Brendan Gleeson?

Posted by · 6:12 pm · August 17th, 2011

For a series of not-entirely-connected reasons, a little Irish indie called “The Guard” has been on my mind today. For starters, a reader named Stephen asked me on Twitter when it would reach US theaters — only for me to discover that it’s been in limited release there for several weeks already. (UK audiences can […]

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‘Coriolanus’ poster

Posted by · 3:10 pm · August 17th, 2011

Another day, another poster. Interesting that they’re selling this one less as The Ralph Fiennes Show (he is Coriolanus, after all) and more as a two-hander. It’s worth playing up Gerard Butler’s contribution — his performance here is a career highlight — but I maintain my broken-record position that Vanessa Redgrave is the real story here. […]

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Glenn Close’s “lifetime achievement” wagon gets rolling

Posted by · 6:26 am · August 17th, 2011

In the grand scheme of the awards season, an honour from the high-end but small-scale San Sebastian Film Festival doesn’t mean much on its own. But seen potentially as the first stop on a tour of similar recognition, the festival’s announcement of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Glenn Close — conveniently attached to the European […]

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