REVIEW: “Melancholia” (***1/2)

Posted by · 5:32 am · May 19th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival It’s the end of the world as we know it, and Lars von Trier feels fine. Well, not “fine,” exactly: he feels as despairing and sceptical and faithless as he usually does, but that’s clearly where he’s comfortable, and where his creative faculties thrive most actively. They’re certainly in rude health in […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘Melancholia’

Posted by · 8:40 am · May 10th, 2011

The director: Lars von Trier (Denmark) The talent: After the lonesome two-hander that was “Antichrist,” von Trier is back to the all-star ensemble form of “Dogville” — and an eclectic ensemble at that. Taking on the traditionally punishing duties of von Trier’s female lead (though the man maintains she got off lightly) is Kirsten Dunst. […]

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NYT offers some pointers to the Academy

Posted by · 6:03 am · January 3rd, 2011

The New York Times has an annual tradition of getting its three top critics — Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott and Stephen Holden — to craft ideal Oscar ballots, and the results this year point to more scattered affections than the critics’ award trail would have you believe. Interestingly, only one title features on all three […]

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The actor as auteur

Posted by · 5:27 am · December 10th, 2009

One of my current favorite film writers, Ryan Gilbey, has written an excellent New Statesman piece reflecting on the past decade in film acting. In it, he argues that the 2000s have gone some way towards blurring the definitions of ‘star’ and ‘character actor,’ and singling out the achievements of three actors in particular: Unconsciously […]

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VENICE: ‘The Road,’ ‘Life During Wartime,’ ‘Great Directors’

Posted by · 7:27 am · September 3rd, 2009

Sorry to duck out there for the whole morning — a combination of wireless misbehavior and delayed screenings has played havoc with my planned writing time. As a festival, Venice has multiple charms, but smooth organization is not among them. This morning’s glitch-bedeviled  screening of Todd Solondz’s “Life During Wartime” is a case in point: […]

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BAFTA predictions

Posted by · 2:00 pm · January 14th, 2009

The BAFTA nominations drop tomorrow, and while I hardly covered myself in glory with my foreign film Oscar forecast yesterday, I’m going to wade into the murky waters of prediction once more. On the one hand, it’s a fool’s errand trying to predict the BAFTA nods, as they can frequently be the most perverse and contrarian awards […]

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INTERVIEW: Kristin Scott Thomas

Posted by · 1:03 pm · December 6th, 2008

When interviewing Kristin Scott Thomas, the woman who for many audiences represents the living portrait of English upper-crust serenity, Led Zeppelin isn’t exactly the first name you expect to crop up in the conversation. And yet, halfway through our Transatlantic chat, that is exactly what happens. “Seeing the guys, well into their sixties, just getting […]

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What the… ?

Posted by · 4:51 am · November 12th, 2008

Insane pre-production news for the day: Charlotte Rampling and Paris Hilton are to appear in the same film. I could make some crack about moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, but… oh wait, I already did. If that tidbit isn’t enough to blow your mind, let me put it in context — they have […]

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REVIEW: “The Duchess” (**1/2)

Posted by · 10:53 am · September 8th, 2008

There’s a startling scene near the beginning of “The Duchess,” in which the teenaged Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightley) has intercourse for the first time with her new husband, the much older Duke of Devonshire (Ralph Fiennes). Ordered, with dispassionate reserve, to strip naked and lie on the bed, Georgiana trembles with positive terror as her […]

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