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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Simply the Worst: Elia Kazan's "The Arrangement"

    One of the challenges in talking about the “worst” film in a director’s oeuvre is that that notion is often bound less to subjective definitions of “good” and “bad” art (another, even fishier kettle of fish) than to a sense of personal defensiveness that acolytes can project simultaneously toward the filmmaker and (unconsciously?) toward themselves. Thus, a film maudit can become an irresistible dare to anybody who believes he or she can stand by anything from a beloved auteur, in the process lionizing themselves as truth-tellers allied to the misunderstood artists they’re defending. It is, to momentarily slide into personal admission, a temptation I’ve in the past seldom resisted. My own evaluative classifications of cinematic highs and lows have swung wildly over the years, starting out with stolid, rather middlebrow mainstays of quality (“Is the plot realistic? Are the characters believable?”) and swiftly giving way to the siren call of the kind of dogmatic auteurism that famously led an exasperated Dwight Macdonald to write that, to the young Cahiers du cinéma critics, “Homer nods, but apparently Hitchcock never.” Though it certainly remains director-centric, my focus has hopefully evolved enough to be able to differentiate between an instance of a neglected effort ripe for reappraisal and a perverse case of turd polishing.

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    More: new issue
  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Trailer Watch: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Shows Off Bikes Moves in Premium Rush

    Check out the trailer for writer-director David Koepp's Premium Rush, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film arrives in theater January 13, 2012.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Watch: Danny Glover Honored At Deauville Film Festival w/ Tribute Award

    A week ago, Danny Glover was honored with a lifetime achievement tribute award at the 37th Deauville American Film Festival, in Deauville, France. Here he is accepting award:

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    More: Watch Now
  • Women and Hollywood
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    TIFF: The Lady - The Story of Aung San Suu Kyi

    (Update: The Lady is opening today for one week in LA for an Oscar qualifying run.  It will open early next year here in the US.  I also have been told that about 30 minutes has been shaved off  -- I haven't seen the new version yet).

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  • Shadow and Act
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    "Creatively Speaking" Film Series Returns to BAMcinematek This Weekend - Sept. 17th &18th

    In celebration of the United Nations declaring 2011 as "The Year of People of African Descent", this year’s Creatively Speaking film series at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) brings together a hand-picked selection of films and videos representing the diversity of people of African descent from around the world.

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  • The Playlist
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    Will Forte Will Go On A 'Neighborhood Watch' With Ben Stiller & Vince Vaughn

    Transitioning out of "Saturday Night Live" and establishing yourself as a stand-alone star isn't easy and for every Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler there is a Chris Kattan or Tim Meadows. For Will Forte, the journey certainly hasn't been a straight line. His attempt to turn "MacGruber" into a feature film found audiences lukewarm to the idea, and his previous attempt big-screen comedy stardom "The Brothers Solomon" was roundly ignored and critically savaged. However, Forte hasn't given up and is wisely going the supporting route to re-build his profile. With roles in "I Hate You Dad," "Rock Of Ages" and "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie" on the horizon he's adding one more big-league comedy into the mix.

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  • The Playlist
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    David Tennant and Rupert Grint To Voice 3D CGI Film Version Of U.K. Kids' TV Favorite 'Postman Pat'

    Stephen Mangan and Jim Broadbent Also InvolvedYou might not be familiar with "Postman Pat." The kind of peculiarly eccentric, low-key animation series that could only have come out of Great Britain, it involves the adventures of the titular postal worker, and his black-and-white cat Jess, in the fictional village of Greendale. He delivers letters, he helps out the villagers, and that's about it. But the show has run on-and-off for thirty years, has aired all over the world, and we can assure you it was a key part of this writer's childhood.

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  • Spout
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    TIFF11: "The Forgiveness of Blood" Is an Impressive and Nuanced Work of Global Cinema

    “The Forgiveness of Blood” must have been an incredibly troublesome film to make. I don’t mean technically, financially or logistically, though filming in Northern Albania with mostly first-time actors can’t have been easy. The extraordinary difficulty here lies in the treacherous waters of global cinema. Joshua Marston is an American filmmaker who decided to go make a film in Albania about their oft-publicized blood feud problem. The very idea is already riddled with potential concerns, only some of which are mundane. Beyond the language and cultural barriers, how do you craft a universal story in that context so that it appeals to international (and specifically, American) audiences? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you make a film that is not at all exploitative but rather honestly tells a tale that is neither exoticized nor disrespectful?

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  • Women and Hollywood
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    TIFF: Interview with Malgoska Szumowska - Director of Elles

    Elles tells the story of a journalist - Juliette Binoche - who interviews two young female students about their lives as prostitutes. This is bound to be a controversial film because for one it deals with female sexuality and how these young women use their sexuality to survive. They made this choice but each time they meet a date there is always the fear factor attached. Binoche character develops a strong affinity for these young women and it bleeds into her family life where she lives with her husband and two sons. She becomes unnerved and starts losing her grip all the while she is in the midst of preparing a big dinner for her husband's boss (the writer mentioned the reference to Mrs. Dalloway in the Q and A). This film pushes many buttons and what bothered me is that it made it seem like prostitution is one of the choices for your women today. It should have to be a choice for a woman to get an education, but the film said (and it was sparked by an article on student prostitutes) that this is the reality we live in.

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  • The Playlist
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    Another Great 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' Poster

    Lynne Ramsay is back. Nearly a decade since her last film, "Morvern Callar," the Scottish director has delivered what is easily her best work to date, "We Need To Talk About Kevin." It absolutely blew people away on the Croisette when it premiered in Cannes this spring and the momentum for the movie continues to build after hitting both Telluride and TIFF in recent weeks to equally strong acclaim.

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