In Contention

OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape. As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly [...]

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Filed in: Off the Carpet

REVIEW: “Carnage” (**1/2)

Posted by Guy Lodge · 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: “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (****)

Posted by Guy Lodge · 6:10 pm · May 12th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Lionel Shriver’s 2003 bestseller “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a rare pop novel indeed: a nippy, low-comfort social essay that lures readers into messily untied arguments on topical subject matter the talk-show circuit would have far less trouble resolving. It might have made for a cluttered, stentorian film about things, [...]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’

Posted by Guy Lodge · 5:54 pm · May 8th, 2011

The director: Lynne Ramsay (United Kingdom) The talent: Reigning arthouse-crossover queen Tilda Swinton leads the cast of Scottish director Ramsay’s third feature; filling the other two key roles are John C. Reilly, shifting gears from his recent run of comedy roles, and 18 year-old Ezra Miller, an effectively gangly presence in “Afterschool” and “City Island.” [...]

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Rockwell talks ‘Conviction,’ other choices for Kenny Waters, destroyed footage

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 10:13 am · October 21st, 2010

Backstage’s Jenelle Riley recently moderated a post-screening Q&A with “Conviction” star Sam Rockwell and a few interesting nuggets surfaced during the chat. First and foremost, I was always under the impression that Rockwell was the first choice for the role of Kenny Waters in the film.  But as he reveals here, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and [...]

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Malick’s ‘Thin Red Line’ shines on Criterion Blu

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 12:01 pm · September 28th, 2010

If you’re sitting there right now, reading these words, killing time, nothing much to do this afternoon, do yourself a favor — go out and buy the new Criterion Blu-ray release of Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line.” I’ve been delighting in this top 10 all-timer all week, probably my most anticipated home video release [...]

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9/15 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 9:51 am · September 15th, 2010

• Anne Thompson sits down with Golden Lion winner Sofia Coppola, from Venice. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Patrick Goldstein on Hollywood’s on-going lover affair with mobster cinema. [The Big Picture] • Pete Hammond concurs with the Oscar buzz surrounding “The Social Network” after a slew of screenings in New York and Los Angeles. [Deadline]

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The Great Performances: 2002

Posted by John Foote · 9:45 am · November 27th, 2009

2002 was probably one of the greatest years for performance excellence in film history, from leading actor right through all the supporting players. They could have easily nominated 10 actors in each of the four acting categories, and still missed some. Though Adrien Brody won the Oscar for “The Pianist,” which was a huge shock, [...]

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The Great Performances: 1999

Posted by John Foote · 9:18 pm · November 7th, 2009

1999 was a strange year.  And it’s hard to believe a full decade has slipped past since.  There were some great award-winning performances, to be sure, but there seemed to be just as many not nominated that certainly should have been. Ten years later, I remain stunned that Reese Witherspoon was not nominated for her [...]

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SHORT TAKE: “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (***)

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 4:44 pm · July 25th, 2006

I’m no fan of Will Ferrell’s comedic sensibilities in the slightest, but “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” is probably the best film of his typical mold to hit screens yet.  I know “Anchorman” has its devoted, and “Old School” was apparently good enough in the eyes of Bravo to make it to an [...]

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Filed in: Reviews