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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SIFF Virgin Diary 2: Spacek Talks Malick, Loretta Lynn & 'Carrie'; Kassovitz's 'Rebellion' and 'The Exorcist'

    "Carrie"

    SIFF honored Sissy Spacek with their Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award and held a tribute evening in her honor. Time critic Richard Corliss led the nearly two hour Q & A with Spacek, covering everything from her upbringing in Texas to what she grows on her farm in Virginia. "Grass," she said, but "not that kind of grass!"

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  • The Playlist
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    The Essentials: The 5 Best Johnny Depp Performances

    Despite the relative disappointment of "Dark Shadows" (and the film's closing on $200 million worldwide, which is nothing to be sniffed at), Johnny Depp is still one of the biggest stars in the world, something sure to only be further cemented by next year's "The Lone Ranger." And the actor must have had one of the most curious career paths of the top-tier actors: from horror movie fodder in "Nightmare on Elm Street" to war movie bit-parter in "Platoon" to TV hearthrob in "21 Jump Street" to freakish leading man in "Edward Scissorhands" to leading man in indie-minded films like "Benny & Joon" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" to would-be mainstream leading man in "Chocolat" and "From Hell."

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  • The Playlist
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    Brooklyn Film Festival Review: 'Old Dog' A Bold, Uncompromising Tibetan Tale

    And so the Tibetan new-wave cometh. Though merely a tiny ripple for now (consisting of about two filmmakers), the homelanders are showing a different side of their environment, one overlooked by features such as “Seven Years in Tibet” or the blockbusters currently burning the region’s box office. Pema Tseden’s “Old Dog” doesn’t include any of the flourishing beauty that the aforementioned Brad Pitt vehicle does, instead opting to showcase a dismal, despairing area where the cities look like post-apocalyptic wastelands and the countrysides don’t seem to contain a speck of life. While his outlook on things is unrelentingly critical, he’s not being negative for the sake of it -- there’s some true passion behind this work, and Tseden is a director with plenty to say on all topics, ranging from the younger generation's lack of connection to their heritage to the troubling relationship between Tibet and China. All is told in a subtle way, with a minimal plot and quiet, patient long takes -- which is also another way of saying that his modus operandi isn’t likely to please everyone, but for those that admire the work of filmmakers like Jia Zhangke, another remarkable talent has emerged.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: After Dark Action Pics 'El Gringo,' 'The Philly Kid,' 'Stash House' & 'Transit' An Unven Offering Of Genre Fare

    After Dark has been busy releasing a full slate of genre fare, and today we take a look at the After Dark Action lineup which dropped no less than four new movies in May. They each had a brief theatrical run are now available on VOD. Read on below to hear our thoughts on these movies featuring Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Jim Caviezel and more.

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  • The Playlist
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    Brooklyn Film Festival: Short Film Block Reveals Some Promising New Talent

    Despite the insistence of a Brooklynite to quack in between films, the short showcase put on by the Brooklyn Film Festival was an invigorating experience; a presentation of some truly talented individuals who will likely impress many when their features eventually unfurl.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    bell hooks, Cultural Criticism… On Spike Lee, 'Girl 6' & Representing Blackness In Hollywood

    I'm a little behind on my "Revisiting Spike Lee's *Forgotten* Films" series; She Hate Me was featured in the first installment in the series (read that HERE if you missed it), and I was going to tackle Girl 6 in installment #2 this week, but didn't get to it. However, my post will be up by Monday/Tuesday next week.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: '5 Broken Cameras' Moves Immensely But Not Without Raising Crucial Questions

    Sometimes, context is everything. “5 Broken Cameras,” a film by Palestinian citizen Emad Burnat and Israeli citizen Guy Davidi, offers some context but mostly evidence for the brutal, overly aggressive Israeli army response to non-violent demonstrations. You watch with gnawing unease as soldiers lob tear gas with abandon, scattering protestors, who sometimes respond with volleys of rocks and seemingly whatever else falls underhand. It’s all wrenching, and immediately, whether the filmmakers intended for the film to or not, drafts a line between “good” and “bad,” simple as those terms may be. Yet for all it’s emotional pull, the drama inherent in a group of peasants (Burnat self-identifies as one) attempting to stage non-violent demonstrations in the face of unyielding odds, “5 Broken Cameras” begs for context beyond what is given via narration from Burnat, who is prone to flights of philosophy that would make Herzog proud.

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    More: Review
  • The Playlist
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    Brooklyn Film Festival Review: '[s]comparse' Is An Interesting If Unadventurous Documentary

    There's a small Italian island in between Sicily and Africa that, for years, has served as a stepping stone for African immigrants looking for a brighter future. Recently, a large film production took to this haven in order to tell a fictional account of these people -- though, as it turns out, the migrants play second fiddle to a white character who leads the narrative. Camera in tow, Antonio Tibaldi documents the behind-the-scenes riff raffs, shooting both the African extras and the local townspeople as they display their respective frustrations with the grandiose movie attempting to tell their story. "[s]comparse" has plenty of intelligent, great ideas -- for example, the movie shoot is treated like an unwanted foreigner by the natives, opening up plenty of interesting layers -- but is brought down by its conventional, repetitive structure.

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  • Peter Bogdanovich
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    A Year and A Day Calender: Oak

    OAK The Tree of Endurance & Triumph JUNE 10 - JULY 7

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Blast from the Past with '227: The Lost Episodes'

    227: The Lost Episodes, a live comedy show at Second City Hollywood, is giving a makeover to one of the 1980s' beloved sitcoms.

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    More: Television