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  • The Playlist
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    'Murderball' & 'September Issue' Directors Prep Narrative Feature Debuts

    A couple of directors of acclaimed documentaries are using that success to spring board into narrative feature films, with two intriguing films now in the works.

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  • Spout
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    100 Years of Terrible "Titanic" Exploitations in Film, TV and Slides

    99 years ago today, the Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg the night before. It was a terrible tragedy that took the lives of 1,517 people. But you wouldn't know its seriousness from the century of bad portrayals, jokes and exploitations of the incident, including the awful idea for a 3D re-release of James Cameron's "Titanic," which is set to open exactly one year from now for the centennial (celebration?). I'm curious what the worst sort of capitalization of the catastrophe was, though, and if Cameron is simply following an acceptable line of action. The following are some of the examples, mainly cinematic, that I might find a tad disrespectful if I were one of the victims of one of the worst disasters in history.

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Trailer For Ensemble Comedy 'High Road' With Matt Walsh, Ed Helms, Lizzy Caplan & More

    While he may not be a household name, you've definitely seen him before. Matt Walsh has certainly earned his comedy cred logging time in the "Upright Citizens Brigade," appearing in every Todd Phillips movie to date and racking up screen time in too many televisions shows and movies to list here. But undoubtedly, he's made plenty of connections and with a Rolodex full of funny people, he's called in a few favors for his directorial debut, the improvised comedy "High Road."

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Preview: Indie & Foreign Films to See: Princess of Montpensier, Screaming Man, Armadillo

    Here's TOH's weekend preview of the mainstream box office contenders. And for the smart-movie demo, here's a look at the weekend's new indie and foreign language offerings, from Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier (gorgeous, as pictured) and Danish war documentaryArmadillo, to Italy's Oscar submission The First Beautiful Thing and the France/Belgium/Chad co-production A Screaming Man, which indieWIRE's Eric Kohn calls Divine.

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  • The Playlist
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    Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas & Jean-Marc Barr Head To 'Big Sur' For Michael Polish

    Anthony Edwards, Radha Mitchell, Balthazar Getty & Henry Thomas Round Out The CastCould the Beat Generation be experiencing a resurgence of mainstream interest? We'll have to wait and see but it certainly won't be for a lack of trying from Hollywood. Last year, James Franco starred in the underwhelming "Howl" centering on Allen Ginsberg and the famous trial around the poem. While that film fizzled, a much more star studded affair is around the corner with Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's iconic "On The Road" starring Kristen Stewart, Garret Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga and Danny Morgan. And now, another famed Kerouac is getting the big screen treatment.

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  • The Playlist
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    First Look & Plot Details: 'Reprise' Director Joachim Trier's 2011 Cannes Entry, 'Oslo, August 31st'

    You'll likely need some context for this one, so let's rewind. In 2008, our Editor-in-Chief named Norwegian director Joachim Trier's 2008 debut feature, "Reprise" the #1 film of the year, over things like Steven Soderbergh's "Che," the fantastic documentary "Man On Wire" and works of elegiac Malick-ian beauty like "Silent Light" (holy crap, not only was 2008 not only a fantastic year for films, it was an amazing one for foreign films). A bold movie, perhaps a naive one full of woozy drunk passion, but nonetheless, Trier's electric ode to youthful restlessness, friendship and ambition is a striking debut that none of us have easily forgotten.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: Rio

    When Blue Sky Studio unveiled its debut feature-film, Ice Age, a decade ago, it became clear that Pixar didn’t have a monopoly on clever storytelling or computer imagery. Now, longtime staff director Carlos Saldanha, who was born in Brazil, has returned to his homeland, cinematically speaking, to create a lively, colorful, thoroughly entertaining animated feature.

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  • Spout
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    "Gun Fight" is a Bland Attempt at Balanced Filmmaking for Barbara Kopple

    There are a few great debates in this country that may never be settled. Abortion is one. First Amendment exceptions is another. The argument over the right to bear arms, though, is one that can't even have that "may" in there. No kind of evidence, imaginable or unimaginable, is going to come out of nowhere and prove that guns should be permitted, controlled or banned. It's just always going to be a balance of beliefs and opinion. That doesn't mean the topic shouldn't continue to be debated for eternity, and I certainly welcome any documentary that wants to take either side strongly. Unfortunately, there's this misconception lately that non-fiction films have to be "objective" and include all points of view. It's a misconception that makes Barbara Kopple's latest, "Gun Fight," a major disappointment.

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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Cannes Competition and Un Certain Regard 2011

    Now that the titles for the Festival International de Cannes Competition, Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition, Midnight Screenings and Special Screenings have been announced, we will begin to look at the business side of the titles. Cannes Rights Round Up will soon open on this blog as an acquisitions tracking tool as distributors now begin licensing rights for their territories during the spring and summer months to come. There are four female directors out of the 19 films in Competiton which is a new record of 21%. Brava to Lynn Ramsay ♀ , Naomi Kawase ♀ , Maiwenn L ♀ ., and first time Australian filmmaker Julia Leigh ♀ with her Sleeping Beauty!! Out of Competition Kung Fu Panda 2 is directed by Jennifer Yuh ♀, and The Beaver is directed by Jodie Foster ♀.Jennifer Yuh Kung Fu Panda 2Un Certain Regard features Brazilian first timer Juliana Rojas ♀ codirecting Trabalhar Cansa (Travailler Fatigue aka Hard Labor) with Marco Dutra.From Latin America comes Everado Gout's Dias de Gracia from Mexico (one of the two Midnight Screenings). Christian Jimenez's Bonsai from Chile/ France/ Argentina/ Portugal is in Un Certain Regard along with Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala from Mexico (from Twentieth Century Fox), first timers Juliana Rojas ♀ and Marco Dutra's Trabalhar Cansa (Travailler Fatigue or Hard Labor)From FilmBiz Asia: Two Japanese films represent Asia in the main competition section of the Cannes festival. They are joined by first film Sleeping Beauty by Australian director Julia Leigh ♀. A trio of Korean films take three of five places occupied by Asia-Pacific titles in Un Certain Regard. Accompanying the three Korean titles, Hong Sang-soo's (홍상수) The Day He Arrives (북촌방향); Kim Ki-duk's (김기덕) Arirang (김기덕);and Na Hong-jin's The Yellow Sea (황해), Un Certain Regard finds room for Eric Khoo's Tatsumi and for Ivan Sen's aboriginal drama Toomelah. Tatsumi is an animated tribute to manga artist Tatsumi Yoshihiro (辰巳ヨシヒロ). Employing non-professional actors, Toomelah is the story of a dilemma faced by a nine year-old boy. The festival selection also has a platform for Peter Chan's starry martial arts film Wu Xia as a midnight screening, and there is a special screening of Le Maitre des Forges de l'Enfer by Franco-Cambodian director Rithy Panh. We will watch for the unannounced films from Brillante Mendoza, Yorgos Lanthimos, Carlos Reygadas, Hirokazu Kore-eda to see if they show up in Directors Fortnight or Critics Week (April 18) which have yet to announce their films.You can see all titles with their international sales agents linked to Cinando here.If you are at a loss which films to see, read Anthony Kaufman's blog for his 7 top choices.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: The Conspirator

    There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting a movie to be great and having to admit that it falls short. At one point during The Conspirator I found myself willing it to be more exciting and dynamic, to no avail. It isn’t bad, but it never scales the heights of greatness its story promises and demands.

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