INTERVIEW: ‘The Town’ screenwriter, director and star Ben Affleck

Posted by · 2:14 pm · November 10th, 2010

Actor — and as of late, filmmaker — Ben Affleck makes his way to a cozy corner of Santa Monica’s Casa Del Mar hotel restaurant. He’s coming from a “Dad’s event” at his daughter’s school, he says, propping his feet up on a nearby chair. Currently shooting Terrence Malick’s latest film in Oklahoma, the multi-hyphenate […]

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SHORT TAKE: “Biutiful” (**1/2)

Posted by · 1:11 pm · May 17th, 2010

Cannes Film Festival “How much does life weigh?” asked Alejandro González Iñárritu’s sophomore feature “21 Grams” – and while the literal answer was there in the title, it’s been clear from the rich buffet of human suffering in his films thus far that he believes it weighs rather a lot indeed. Brace yourselves, then, for […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Original players

Posted by · 2:44 pm · November 16th, 2009

When I had the unmitigated gall last week to project a set of winners for this year’s Oscar race, I was a bit startled at how easy Mark Boal’s script for “The Hurt Locker” slid into the Best Original Screenplay slot.  Looking over the landscape of contenders in the category, it’s a little obvious why […]

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Salvaging ‘The Burning Plain’ across the pond

Posted by · 9:28 am · August 14th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the tortuous release schedule that Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut “The Burning Plain” has endured since making a respectable bow at Venice almost a year ago. The film’s buzz has fluctuated wildly over the months, but it was never softer than in March, when it opened in the […]

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‘Burning Plain’ is Arriaga at his best

Posted by · 7:57 am · August 6th, 2009

Last night I caught Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” and like Guy, I’m having trouble settling my thoughts on the piece.  I suppose our combined ponderings will have to serve as the film’s review here at In Contention, but unlike Guy’s relatively reserved recommendation, I have to say I wholeheartedly endorse it as perhaps Arriaga’s […]

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The see-sawing ‘Burning Plain’

Posted by · 6:21 pm · August 3rd, 2009

Thanks to the reader (modestly unnamed) who sent me a reminder of the recently released U.S. trailer for Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” a film that has endured a wildly uneven buzz trajectory since debuting at Venice nearly a year ago. Hailed out the gate as a strong 2008 Oscar vehicle for Charlize Theron, despite […]

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Thoughts on ‘The Burning Plain’

Posted by · 10:12 am · April 5th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to review Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut ever since I saw it two weeks ago, but for some reason, my thoughts on the film just won’t settle into place. It’s not a case of the film being particularly challenging or impenetrable — it’s Arriaga’s most structurally simple work to date, and arguably his […]

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‘Plain’ brings buzz for Theron

Posted by · 2:41 am · August 30th, 2008

I’ve already said how high my hopes are for “The Burning Plain,” the directorial debut from one of the most interesting screenwriters in the business, Guillermo Arriaga. Now the reviews are trickling in, and they’re — predictably — mixed. Variety, as is often the case these days, provides the major buzzkill, dismissing it as “an […]

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First look at ‘The Burning Plain’

Posted by · 12:34 am · August 14th, 2008

As I mentioned in my Venice preview, “The Burning Plain,” the directorial debut from screenwriter extraordinaire Guillermo Arriaga, is one of my most anticipated titles of the year. Now a new series of images from the film has been revealed – check them out here. Not much to be gleaned from them that you hadn’t […]

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Venice puts cinema ahead of stars

Posted by · 10:24 am · July 30th, 2008

There are some major surprises in the competition lineup for next month’s Venice Film Festival, not the least of which are the global flavour and soberness of the lineup itself. In previous years, the Lido has proved a launchpad for starry, surefire awards vehicles (“Atonement” and “Michael Clayton” both made successful bows there last year, […]

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