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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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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    EXCLUSIVE Clip: Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Premieres at Tribeca April 23

    EXCLUSIVE Clip: Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Premieres at Tribeca April 23

    Director Dori Berinstein's Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, a look at the legendary performer's life, catches the vibrant 90-year-old Broadway actress both then and now, onstage and off. Berinstein co-wrote the documentary with Adam Zucker, which features many famous faces, from Barbara Walters to Debbie Reynolds to Lily Tomlin. The film premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23. Here is the NYT's take on the fest's 10th year. Check out the exclusive clip below, in which Channing shares an anecdote about Jackie and Caroline Kennedy:

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: French Trailer For The Dardenne Brothers' 'The Kid With The Bike'

    With four awards from Cannes under their belts, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are veterans of the red carpet and they'll be returning once more to unveil their latest, "The Kid With The Bike." Yesterday, we got a look at a couple of images and a poster for the film and today, a full-length, French language trailer for 'Kid' has arrived.

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  • Caryn James
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    Defending "The Conspirator"

    I found Robert Redford's The Conspirator to be haunting and effective – far from the history lesson disguised as a movie that I’d been reading about since it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year. As Mary Surratt, the woman accused of conspiring in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Robin Wright is restrained and enigmatic, reconciled from the start to the fact that she will be railroaded instead of fairly tried in court. And James McAvoy is amazingly good - fierce and thoughtful - as her lawyer, a former Union solider who at first resists defending her. They are vibrantly living characters.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Rio' Only Occasionally Takes Flight

    In "Rio," it's easy to get lost in the colorful characters and propulsive (not to mention rigidly straightforward) plot. The tale of a dislodged bird named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) sent to South America to mate with another member of his extremely rare species (played by Anne Hathaway), is full of the kind of visual wonder that does a lot to dazzle, especially if you see it in 3D, where the birds (and other jungle wildlife) zoom out at you and into your lap. But if you pause longer than the movie ever does to think about what is actually going on, then you'll almost certainly become unglued and disinterested. For a movie this amazingly active, it's also quite plodding.

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  • Women and Hollywood
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    Maren Kroymann - The German Meryl Streep

    I got a bit of an inkling about how popular my fellow jury member Maren Kroymann was here in Germany, when at the opening night party a couple of people circled her, pointed their fingers and stared. Since I have a limited knowledge of actresses who have not been seen in movies in America I had no idea who Maren Kroymann was aside from having googled her before I arrived here in Germany.

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    More: Lesbian
  • Hope for Film
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    Guest Post: Bob Ray "Bringing It To The People, The Badass Way"

    How do you do it? If the mainstream industry and the mainstream festivals are not responding to your work, does it mean there's no audience or community for you work? HELL, NO! You just have to bring it to where they are. It might be hard. It might be grueling. And it will be brutal, but it can be done.

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