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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Trailer Watch: Daniel Radcliffe in Upcoming Thriller The Woman in Black

    Creepy children (in the pinafore-dress style of the twins from The Shining), innocent yet terrifying. Creaking Victorian House, dusty mechanical toys with minds of their own, and blood-splattered wall-paper--oh my!

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  • The Playlist
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    John Sayles Talks The Politics Of 'Amigo' & Working With A Filipino Cast

    John Sayles' latest feature, "Amigo," is an intriguing moral fable, marrying historical narrative with a fictionalized tale that takes us on an emotional journey with those on both sides of a conflict. The background is the Philippine–American War of the early 20th century, a well-documented but not widely known (it certainly was skimmed over in our history classes) attempt to "win hearts and minds" of Filipinos. The "amigo" of the title refers to Rafael (Joel Torre), a cabeza (head) of a barrio whose initially envious position becomes his downfall when the Americans unceremoniously occupy the village and attempt to root out guerilla fighters who have taken refuge in the adjacent wilderness. Rafael's brother is the leader of the local insurrection and so the village head finds himself in the ultimate predicament, pacifying the trigger-happy Americans while half-heartedly supporting his brother's revolutionary tactics. "Amigo" succeeds largely because it refuses to simplify the situation or spell out the obvious comparisons a viewer could make to U.S. global politics today. It's also well-acted, handsomely shot with rich scenery and a novelistic approach to character development. In short, it's another fine entry in Sayles' already impressive body of work and should more than please fans of the auteur.

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  • The Playlist
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    Craig Gillespie Says He Was Attracted To The "Brutal" Vampire Mythology Of ‘Fright Night’

    Despite his art house pedigree, “Lars and the Real Girl” director Craig Gillespie -- who will tackle "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" next -- is diving into the genre world head first. This week he attempts to satiate the horror crowd with a remake of ‘80s camp classic “Fright Night” that he hopes will bring back the “ruthless vampire” from the depths of lovey-dovey romanticism like “Twilight.” Starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Imogen Poots, the film keeps the basic premise but adds a darker edge to the proceedings while relocating the story to Las Vegas. Add in some 3D and you have a unique, updated genre tale that aims to take a real bite out of some familiar cinematic territory.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    2 More Highlights From New York Film Festival 2011 Slate ("Play" & "Sleeping Sickness")

    As Homer Simpson would say D'oh! I don't know how I missed these 2 titles when I went over the main slate of the 2011 New York Film Festival, which was announced earlier today (you can read that post HERE). In it, I highlighted Steve McQueen's sophomore effort, Shame, and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    (Relatively) New On DVD-- "Take A Giant Step" Finally Gets Its Official Release

    You know a b/w film released in 1959 must be something serious when there are bootlegged copies for sale on the internet and numerous on-line petitions begging for its official release floating about.

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    More: New On DVD
  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The Last Circus' Is A Three-Ring Extravaganza Of Excess

    The prologue for Alex de la Iglesia's new film, "The Last Circus," which premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival but is just now making its debut on American shores, is a kicky, grindhouse shock about a traveling circus interrupted by rebels who recruit the performers to participate in the burgeoning Spanish Civil War. The show's lead clown (Santiago Segura) is handed a machete and forced to stay in his whimsical, gender-bending costume, since the rebel leader says it will scare the shit out of the enemy. And, for whole minutes, we watch as the clown grittily slices and dices members of Franco's fascist army. After the "happy clown" has been captured and interred in a mine, we see him have a conversation with his young son. His father tells him to keep up the clown tradition of his family, but instead of a happy clown, he'll be a sad clown. Then, in a tragic/comic moment, his father gets trampled to death by a horse and the son ends up maiming a colonel.

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  • The Playlist
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    Jim Sturgess Says The Book Was All He Needed To Get Prepared For 'One Day'

    In “One Day,” Jim Sturgess’ Dexter is kind of an asshole, though certainly the kind of asshole that some women are irresistibly and illogically drawn to. He says and does things to Anne Hathaway’s Emma that would make him irredeemable if played by a less charming actor, but because it’s Sturgess who’s doing the heartbreaking, we’re content to watch--and would likely volunteer to be the victim as well. Based on David Nicholls’ book (and the author’s screenplay), the Lone Scherfig film follows the pair dipping into each others' lives for one day a year across three decades. They perform a dance where they’re alternately joining together and pushing each other away as their lives and selves change from their twenties through their forties.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Oscar Watch: Sony Pictures Classics Boasts Strong Fall Line-up; Midnight in Paris Stays in Theaters

    Oscar Watch: Sony Pictures Classics Boasts Strong Fall Line-up; Midnight in Paris Stays in Theaters

    Sony Pictures Classics is having a good year. Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is not only the most successful Woody Allen movie ever ($49 million domestic and counting), it's the only movie to play all summer long. After its successful launch May 20 after opening Cannes, co-president Tom Bernard refused to tell me when they were planning to release the DVD. "We're staying in theaters as long as possible," he said.

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  • The Playlist
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    Jennifer Lawrence To Sing "Rue's Lullaby" On 'The Hunger Games' Soundtrack

    "The Hunger Games" will be a test of sorts for Jennifer Lawrence. Expectations are running high for the franchise film -- which already has a sequel dated for November 22, 2013 -- and will also be the the first time the young actress is toplining a tentpole. The success of the brewing series will largely depend on if audiences outside the core fanbase will want to go along Katniss' adventures, and that largely rests on Lawrence's shoulders. So as if that pressure wasn't enough, now she's going to show off her singing voice too.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Are African Americans Capable Of Tolerating Cinema That Questions Our POV Of Ourselves As A Race?

    The Realist Tendency in African-American Film Aesthetics (Part one)

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