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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Not Everyone In Hawaii Is Relaxed In New Trailer For 'The Descendants'

    For anyone who has been to Hawaii, you know that the laid back attitude of the locals, while at first disarming, quickly becomes infectious. Falling into the rhythms of the island is pretty easy, but for Matt King, our hero of Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," that Hawaiian charm doesn't come easy.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    NYFF: Alexander Payne's "The Descendants"

    An essentially dark drama bathed in tropical sunlight, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants almost dares you to take it seriously. Its glib direct-address voice-over narration, its sitcom-like establishing shots, its gaudy aesthetic of Hawaiian shirts and palm trees—none of these gestures announce The Descendants as a film striving for artistic credibility. And that’s just fine—for Payne and for us. As he showed in Election and About Schmidt, especially, Payne works in a defiantly accessible and mainstream register, yet manages to inject an emotional authenticity into his films, so that his characters, while clearly readable as regional and social types, behave in a manner that never feels overly cheapened by the machinations of some puppet master behind the scenes.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Under The Radar No More: Nora’s Will—dvd review

    Last year I became an advocate for a Mexican import called Nora’s Will that, I’m happy to say, is now available on DVD. It first came to my attention because I put considerable stock in Menemsha Films, the small, dedicated distributor that acquired it for U.S. release. Company founder Neil Friedman was so convinced that it would be a word-of-mouth success that he opened it in New York and Los Angeles—and did better business the second weekend than he did the first (despite a lone negative review from The New York Times.

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  • The Playlist
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    VIFF '11: Paddy Considine's Directorial Debut 'Tyrannosaur' An Uneven Portrait Of A Damaged Man

    The opening scene of “Tyrannosaur” is a real belter. Through near whiplash-inducing cross cuts, we are introduced to a night in the life of Joseph (Peter Mullan) as he drinks heavily and stews with unfettered rage on a barstool (and back at home with a sawed-off wood baseball bat that looks like a leftover from the “Gangs of New York” props department). Then he does something really awful: he kills his dog. He doesn’t necessarily try to do this; it’s more the product of his excessive drinking, nasty temper and hateful, cynical outlook on the world. But he still did it, and the audience will never forget this for the remainder of the film.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Sole Black Cast Member Of "The Walking Dead" Worries About What His Blackness Could Mean For Him...

    Last night, I caught up with episode 1 of season 2 of AMC's hit zombie drama The Walking Dead; one of the very few TV shows I actually watch - and I mean very, very few. I had a lot of fun with season 1; usually I'm disappointed by successive seasons of new shows I initially enjoy, with expectations being quite high after being romanced and falling for them during their debut seasons.

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  • Spout
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    "The Dark Knight Rises" May Pull a "Medium Cool" with Occupy Wall Street Protests

    On October 29, Christopher Nolan's next Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," will begin shooting in New York City. The production, under the masked title "Magnus Rex," is scheduled for 14 days of shooting in the Big Apple, and some of this filming could involve the Occupy Wall Street protesters. According to Stephen Zeitchik of the LA Times, an anonymous source associated with the film claims casting notices mention the possibility of shooting "a city besieged by crime and corruption," amidst the OWS crowd, but the purpose is unknown. As are details on whether or not they'd be paid for their work as extras. Some are saying it could be good publicity for the movement, yet it could also be seen as exploitation by a corporate power.

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  • The Playlist
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    Michael Moore & 'The Dark Knight Rises' Inspired By The Occupy Wall Street Protests

    Despite (some of) the mainstream media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests painting the participants as a bunch of unemployed, left wing socialists who hate America, for anyone who has actually been down to Zuccotti Park (or to the various places where demonstrations have been taking place worldwide), they know that it's a remarkably wide ranging group of people. From teenagers to the elderly, with parents bringing their young children to see free speech in action, it's pretty inspiring stuff to witness first hand and it seems Hollywood is taking notice, albeit in some completely different ways.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Miss Representation' Exposes An Ugly Truth That Needs To Be Seen

    It’s no shock to anyone who has turned on the TV, read a magazine, spied a billboard or surfed the internet that media representations of women are problematic at best. At worst, they are a both a symptom and cause of a troubled society reaching a tipping point in its relationship with sex and violence onscreen. This is the thesis set out by “Miss Representation,” a searing documentary directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an actress, activist, and wife of California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. This film, born out of anxiety about the world she was bringing a little girl into, and inspired by her past struggles in life, configures itself as a sort of “An Inconvenient Truth” of sexism in the media. Cutting together talking heads interviews with media experts, professors, actresses, and heads of state with truly shocking statistics, and a barrage of rapid fire images culled from advertising, film and TV, the amount of information and sheer scope of this project is almost too much to bear.

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  • Spout
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    "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is Disney Fluff at Its Most Reflexive and Subversive

    This review was originally published on May 20, 2011. It is being reposted for the home video release.

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    More: Sequels
  • Spout
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    "Bad Teacher" is Bad, but Not Necessarily Bad for Women

    This review was originally published on June 24, 2011. It is being reposted for the home video release. It’s hard to watch a movie like “Bad Teacher” without evaluating where it falls in the debate over women in Hollywood, especially in this summer of heightened sensitivity to the problem. “Bridesmaids” was essentially appointed the representative of women at the box office, which would seem entirely ridiculous if there were even one more film on the docket for the next few months led by or geared towards women. But as Manohla Dargis pointed out recently, this is a summer without much of a female presence on the big screen. “Bridesmaids,” despite its success, is hardly enough to fix what is now an even more discussed deficiency in Hollywood.

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    More: Home Video