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  • Shadow and Act
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    "Pumzi" Director Wanuri Kahiu Talks Female Lead Characters & Telling *Our* Own Stories

    A reminder that Focus Features' Africa First short films are currently available to "watch instantly" on Netflix. So if you have a Netflix account, as I know a lot of you do, you really should check out this compilation of short films by up and coming African filmmakers - one of them being a sci-fi ...

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  • The Playlist
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    Venice '11 Review: 'Shame' A Fascinating Follow-Up To 'Hunger,' With A Tour-De-Force From Fassbender

    As English-language directorial debuts in the last few years go, Steve McQueen's "Hunger" ranks up there as one of the most uncompromising. An award-winning, sometimes controversial British artist, McQueen chose to move into feature film by examining the life of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, managing not to flinch from any of the grim details, using takes of up to 20 minutes in length, and showcasing a tour-de-force performance from the now firmly-planted-on-the-A-list Michael Fassbender. It picked up an enormous amount of critical support, including the Camera D'Or at Cannes in 2008, and signified both director and star as major talents to...

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  • The Playlist
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    Telluride '11 Review: Jennifer Garner's 'Butter' Churns and Churns But Doesn’t Produce Cream

    Ostensibly an edgy satire that fancies itself having a wicked bite, Jennifer Garner’s pet-project “Butter,” instead employs long and broad satirical strokes that never land many effective laughs or blows. You know a comedy is seriously in trouble when there are long, uncomfortable stretches where no...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Venice Film Fest Review: Steve McQueen's Shame is Graphic, Transgressive, Full Frontal

    David Gritten reviews Steve McQueen's Shame from Venice; the film also screens at Telluride Sunday en route to Toronto, where it seeks a brave distributor willing to take on its NC-17 content.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Box Office: The Help and The Debt Throw Sharks, Apollo 18 Out of Orbit

    Adults are saving the Labor Day Weekend box office, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:Similar to last year's Labor Day box office when The American ruled, adults flocked to the holiday cinema once again with DreamWorks/Disney's The Help taking No. 1 with $14.2 million over three days and Focus Features' ...

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  • The Playlist
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    Weekend Box Office: Three Straight Weeks At #1 For 'The Help'

    There are all sorts of qualifiers to this summer becoming the most financially robust in box office history. Chief amongst them are both the inferior product, but also the illusion of 3D prices, which do an excellent job of covering up the consistently-dropping attendance numbers. In other words, mo...

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  • The Playlist
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    Venice '11 Review: Al Pacino's 'Wilde Salome' An Oddity Dominated By Titanic Jessica Chastain Turn

    When did Alfredo James Pacino, Greatest Actor Of His Generation, turn into Shouty Al, Star Of "Righteous Kill" And "Jack and Jill"? The exact moment that the transformation took place is debatable, but it's hard to deny that, aside from some occasional good HBO work, Pacino has become a grotesque, bellowing inflation of former glories more often than not. But we live in hope that it's not a one way street, and that the star may find his way back to subtler movie work that he actually cares about. After all, he does, unlike many of his contemporaries, continue to return to the stage frequently, for much-praised performances, in the likes of "O...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 9, The Gathering, Recap and Review: RTD Channels Ken Russell?

    David Chute wishes he was in Shanghai.The plan was to spell out what I meant by that title, but on second thought it might be more fun to make a contest out of it. Readers who figure out the reference and its relevance to the next-to-the-last episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day will receive absolutely...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Weekend B.O. (Sept. 2-4) People Sure Love Themselves "The Help"

    You just knew it didn't you? That The Help was going to be No.1 again this weekend. It's like a freight train you can't stop. And there have to be black people who really like this film - though I'm guessing that most of them are those really old black folks on wheelchairs and walkers that I've been...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Direct-To-DVD 'Blitz' Falls Somewhere In The Middle Of The Jason Statham Spectrum

    The world of “Blitz” is made up almost entirely of cops. On this cop planet, where the occasional child wanders into trouble and eventually is saved by said cops, these 9-to-5ers struggle to pay bills, worry about pensions, and operate from dingy, drab boardrooms. There’s a stark contrast between th...

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