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Festivals

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Small town life is poignantly examined in the modest Tribeca drama “Abundant Acreage Available.” A humanist drama about family, faith, and grief, ‘Acreage’ is an intimate film with few outsized dramatic moments, but as anchored by Amy Ryan’s mannered yet commanding performance—her finest in years—this lovely little story sensitively absorbs. ‘Acreage’ begins with a makeshift funeral, a bereaved Tracy (Ryan), who’s taken care of her ailing father for years, attempts to bury the box of his ashes in the fields of her farm. Continue reading Amy Ryan Amplifies The Quiet ‘Abundant Acreage Available’ [Tribeca Review] at The Playlist.
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When the Cannes line-up was announced a few weeks back, Thierry Frémaux hinted, as is often the case, that a few slots remained to be filled in the line-up. And news has just dropped as to exactly what those films are. The only addition to the Competition selection (which may indicate that there are still one or two more to come) is “The Square,” the latest from Ruben Östlund, director of the brilliant “Force Majeure.” The film, which revolves around a piece of public performance art, is at least partly in English, and stars the great Elisabeth Moss (who’ll be doing the Cannes double with Jane Campion’s “Top Of The Lake: China Girl”) and Dominic West, and instantly becomes one of the most anticipated of the festival. Continue reading Ruben Östlund’s ‘The Square’ & Roman Polanski’s ‘Based On A True Story’ Join Cannes Line-Up at The Playlist.
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Given the artificiality of celebrity and Hollywood, the idea of a manufactured laugh track and canned applause is a pretty clever metaphor for the emptiness of fame. But a loose concept is not a movie if it’s not carefully drawn, pondered and conceived. And the promise of such a potentially nifty little idea isn’t so much squandered in the hapless Tribeca indie “The Clapper” as barely explored. Continue reading The Insipid ‘The Clapper,’ About Fame & Halfwits, Is Hopeless [Tribeca Review] at The Playlist.
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In “Blame,” the startlingly confident debut film by precocious 22 year-old triple threat writer/director/star Quinn Shephard, the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival receives its true breakout of the year, while also serving as a brutal reminder as to why you couldn’t pay me to be a teenager again. Abigail (Shephard) is returning to school after a year away following a very public breakdown. An easy target for bullies, especially mean girl Melissa (Nadia Alexander) Abigail finds reprieve after she’s cast in the leading role in the school production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible,” a feeling compounded on when she catches the attention of her teacher empathetic Jeremy (Chris Messina). Continue reading ‘Blame’: 22-Year-Old Filmmaker Quinn Shephard Becomes One To Watch With Her Startling Debut [Tribeca] at The Playlist.
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Despite a slightly silly premise and a script that plays it fast and loose with increasingly ridiculous scenarios, director Brian Crano‘s sincere and funny “Permission” manages to charm and impress thanks to the largely committed and above-average cast of Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens. A comedy/drama hybrid that strongly resembles the underrated “Sleeping With Other People” in tone, “Permission” skillfully tackles this popular dram-com mixture while adding a relatively fresh spin on the genre. Continue reading Rebecca Hall & Dan Stevens Impress In The Charming ‘Permission’ [Tribeca Review] at The Playlist.
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  This year is the 70th Cannes Film Festival, and it seems like more than ever, Thierry and co are planning on pulling out the stops to make it a festival to remember. The line-up of movies certainly suggests now, and now the festival has revealed what might be the most high-profile jury line-up in the seven-decade history of movies on the Croisette. We already knew that the legendary Pedro Almodovar was going to serve as jury president, and Jessica Chastain joined him in the line-up last week. Continue reading Will Smith, Paolo Sorrentino & Park Chan-Wook Join Pedro Almodovar & Jessica Chastain On Cannes Jury Duties at The Playlist.
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The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just the biggest celebration of independent film in the U.S. these days, it’s now a global operation. About five years ago, for the first time, the Park City festival upped sticks across the Atlantic for Sundance London, and the festival’s still going strong in 2017, revealing a killer line-up this morning. There are no brand new premieres at the festival, but a number of highlights from the January Park City line-up are getting their international premieres, including opener “Beatriz At Dinner” from Miguel Arteta and starring Salma Hayek, and hotly-tipped comedy “The Big Sick,” while Michael Almereyda’s sci-fi “Marjorie Prime,” Cannes-bound Dave Bautista-starring politically-topical one-take actioner “Bushwick” and, most excitingly, David Lowery’s much-raved about “A Ghost Story” with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (which will close the festival) are receiving their UK premieres. Continue reading ‘A Ghost Story,’ ‘The Big Sick,’ ‘Beatriz At Dinner’ Lead 2017 Sundance London Line-Up at The Playlist.
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To keep it indie 100 for a minute, and hopefully not sound too obscure, if indie filmmaker Alex Ross Perry was to Roman Polanski what his paranoiac feature “Queen Of Earth” was to Polanski’s “The Tenant,” then director Nathan Silver is to Rainer Werner Fassbinder what “Thirst Street” is to the German New Wave director’s “Lola. Continue reading Lindsay Burdge Sparkles In The Delicious Psycho Sexual Thriller ‘Thirst Street’ [Tribeca Review] at The Playlist.
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As a sort of litmus test, noted film critic Gene Siskel would ask of a film, “Is it more interesting than a documentary of the actors having lunch?” Michael Winterbottom’s trilogy of “The Trip”films effectively turn the question inside out, rendering the act of watching a pair of actors have lunch as something riotous, a touch melancholic, and yes, infinitely interesting. Limey comic virtuosos Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have hit the road yet again, bringing their egos, insecurities, and fully-loaded arsenals of celebrity impressions with them. Continue reading ‘Trip To Spain’ Is Another Treat In The Delightful Food, Travel & Improv Franchise [Tribeca Review] at The Playlist.
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As a sort of litmus test, noted film critic Gene Siskel would ask of a film, “Is it more interesting than a documentary of the actors having lunch?” Michael Winterbottom’s trilogy of “The Trip”films effectively turn the question inside out, rendering the act of watching a pair of actors have lunch as something riotous, a touch melancholic, and yes, infinitely interesting. Limey comic virtuosos Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have hit the road yet again, bringing their egos, insecurities, and fully-loaded arsenals of celebrity impressions with them. Continue reading ‘Trip To Spain’ Is Another Treat In The Delightful Food, Travel & Improv Franchise [Tribeca Review] at The Playlist.
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