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  • The Playlist
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    NYFF '11 Review: 'Play' Is A Confident, Complex Look At Social Issues In Sweden

    Festivals can be a great place to discover new, brilliant cinema, but often times the unknown films get drowned out by the heavily buzzed or the latest by a longstanding director. How many of us at the New York Film Festival saw "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "The Kid with a Bike" but, for whatever reason, happened to miss out on "The Loneliest Planet"? It's highly likely that this writer isn't alone. Still, one person generally can't see everything a festival has to offer, so flicks that don't have Palme d'Or helmers behind them or a truckload of auspicious praise for their "breakout performer" tend to get shafted. Still, it's a must to attend those we know nothing about. Besides the fact that they deserve it, they also have something those lauded ones don't: the ability to surprise; for the viewer to go in blind and be completely taken without having known a thing about its cast or the curriculum vitae of the filmmaker. With movie news at the click of a button and various media available all over the web, this is a rare occurrence. We've had a few very pleasant whammies this year, from the social/political critiquing "Policeman" to the sweet "Corpo Celeste," and we're happy to add Ruben Östlund's "Play" to that trust.

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  • Caryn James
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    Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes, Together Again On "Martha Marcy" (Video Interview)

    In Martha Marcy May Marlene, the names say a lot. Elizabeth Olsen plays Martha, a young woman who is taken into a cult-like commune where she is renamed Marcy May by its eerily comforting yet sinister leader, Patrick (and what’s his real name?) played by John Hawkes. Writer-director Sean Durkin’s film soared out of Sundance partly on the strength of their harrowing performances. (Here are my separate interviews with Hugh Dancy, who gives his own magnetic performance in the film, and with Durkin.)

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  • Caryn James
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    "What I Really Want To Do Is Direct," Said The Bear (Video)

    The French television channel Canal + (France’s version of HBO) has just released a hilarious new ad in which we glimpse a surprising film director, on set with the international cast of his Medieval action movie, and explaining why he loves le cinema.

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    More: Web Comedy
  • Caryn James
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    Director Sean Durkin on Martha Marcy ... Dont Use the Word Cult

    Writer-director Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the most haunting films of the year. The story begins with Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escaping from a cult-y commune in upstate New York, only to find that she has carried the psychological scars back to civilization. Its portrait of a young woman trying to stay afloat is interspersed with lucidly unfolding flashbacks that reveal why her escape became necessary. This is the kind of first film that reputations are built on

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  • The Playlist
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    Babes, Drugs & A Claymation Penis In 'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas' Red Band Trailer

    Plus Two Stockings Worth Full Of New Pics & PostersWhat a difference a red band trailer makes. I wasn't really feeling the first trailer that dropped for "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas," but maybe the movie can't be appreciated fully without some serious raunch. After all, this is an R-rated comedy we're talking about.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Bingham Ray Moves West to Run San Francisco Film Society

    Bingham Ray Moves West to Run San Francisco Film Society

    Bingham Ray is back on the festival acquisition beat. But this time, after decades in indie distribution and a recent stint consulting at SnagFilms and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Ray will be making a move to the Bay Area as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, which runs year-round programs including the annual San Francisco International Film Festival. He will be filling the role left vacant by Graham Leggat, who served the SFSS for seven years; he died of cancer in late August.

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  • The Playlist
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    VIFF '11: In Belgian 'Bullhead' Sympathy For The Devil Is A Mark Of Quality

    “No matter what you do or think, one thing is for sure, you’re always fucked. Now, tomorrow, next week or next year, until the end of time, fucked.”

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  • The Lost Boys
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    My Euro-Trip Read

    My Euro-Trip Read

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Get Out Of The Water, It's The Teaser Trailer For 'Piranha 3DD'

    While there has been much hand-wringing over native and post-converted 3D, no one in their wildest imagination could have guessed that last summer "Piranha 3D" would take in over $80 million worldwide. While the news kept James Cameron up at night, the smash success of the low brow horror flick threw pundits for a loop, bucking conventional thought that audiences only want high grade, "Avatar"-like experiences if they pay premium dollars to wear those glasses at the multiplex. It turns out, 3D blood and boobs works too.

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Sherlock Holmes & The Case Of Excessive Speed-Ramping In New Trailer For 'A Game of Shadows'

    New Footage Confirms That Rachel McAdams Returns For SequelThe Christmas season coming up contains more than a few risks in terms of the big commercial movies. Films like "The Muppets" and "The Adventures of Tintin" are placing large, expensive bets on properties that are no longer as famous as they once were, Sony are hoping that audiences will want to spend the holidays with an R-rated tale of rape and murder with "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," and Martin Scorsese has a hugely expensive family movie that, if early reviews are to be believed, appeals mainly to cinephiles.

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