NYFF 2013: HER Review

by     Posted 185 days ago

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We ascribe technology a personality and vice versa.  We say our machines “hate” us when they break down.  Programs illustrate the interests of the user.  Spike Jonze’s Her may seem like an outrageous concept—a man falling in love with a computer—the idea is closer than we think, and its immediacy isn’t just a social concern.  It’s an existential concern as the film attempts to provide the contours of a soul through the absence of a body, a past, and society.  Her is a fragile, delicate movie that requires the audience’s absolute indulgence, but the rewards are some head-spinning questions coupled with a tender, funny, and touching love story.

NYFF 2013: NEBRASKA Review

by     Posted 189 days ago

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In the past, I’ve made jokes about how progress on social issues is inevitable because the people holding antiquated values will die off soon.  Nebraska made me feel a little guilty about those jokes.  I don’t feel guilty because I’ve come to agree with their discriminatory viewpoints, and the movie doesn’t address those kinds of attitudes associated with the red-state heartland.  I feel guilty because I’ve been so casual with the lives of old people who probably never had much to begin with.  With his newest film, director Alexander Payne has created a deeply compassionate picture of elderly life, social decay, economic immobility, and put it into a moving father-son road trip story.  Anchored by strong performances from Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and June Squibb, Nebraska is funny and touching quest to find the good life at the end of life.

New Trailer for THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Plus the 25-Minute New York Film Festival Press Conference

by     Posted 190 days ago

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20th Century Fox has released a new trailer for The Secret Life of Walter MittyBen Stiller (who also directed the film) stars as a daydreaming Life Magazine employee who has to start going on real adventures in order to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn).  Steve and I saw the movie this weekend.  He liked it; I didn’t.  The trailer is a fair representation of the film, and even though it goes through a lot of the plot, the trailer doesn’t really give anything away since everything is so spaced out and mixed up.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer along with the New York Film Festival press conference.  The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, and Patton OswaltThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25th.

NYFF 2013: THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Review

by     Posted 192 days ago

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The problem with platitudes is that they may profess a nice sentiment, but the statement tends to be an obvious one, and it will be a fleeting memory by the time you finish reading that t-shirt or bumper sticker.  Platitudes can’t cut deeper and provide a thoughtful, lasting impression that would cause us to seriously take stock of our lives and values.  Ben Stiller’s two-hour platitude, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, may seem like it’s championing bravery and adventure, but the presentation, while initially enjoyable, quickly becomes hollow, frivolous, and overbearing.  It’s a movie where a man’s facial hair defines his character more than his actions.

NYFF 2013: THE IMMIGRANT Review

by     Posted 193 days ago

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There are some settings that don’t quite work with a soft, romantic approach.  There’s no romanticizing child labor or human trafficking or abject poverty.  James Gray’s The Immigrant shows there’s also no romanticizing prostitution in New York City in 1921.  Gray attempts to spin a complicated love triangle though an elegant web, but two of the three main characters get stuck in mushy, bland roles despite the best efforts of the actors.  What’s meant to carry an air of tragedy, damnation, and the hint of redemption ultimately comes off as silly due to Gray’s misguided approach.

NYFF 2013: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Review

by     Posted 200 days ago

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In the past, director Paul Greengrass has demonstrated a unique and incredible ability to use a documentary-like style that captures the immediacy of a real-life event without ever feeling like a heavy-handed, exploitative dramatization.  Greengrass attempts to bring this approach to his new film, Captain Phillips, but instead of focusing on an event that changed the course of a country, he tries to keep the focus on two men.  Unfortunately, he has no room to maneuver, and his fidelity to Richard Phillips’ story handcuffs the film into a cold procedural.  Strong performances from the lead actors as well Greengrass’ intelligent depiction of neglected people helps draws us in, but the film tries too hard to play up the “thrilling” action, which only highlights how little investment we have in the hostage and his captor.

Full New York Film Festival Lineup Includes INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, NEBRASKA, THE IMMIGRANT, and More

by     Posted 239 days ago

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Each year, the fall film festival season is where studios present their awards fare and kick off months of rigorous campaigning in hopes of Oscar glory.  We recently examined this year’s contenders in the inaugural installment of our new column Oscar Beat, and at the time it appeared that the Toronto International Film Festival was poised to once again be the heavy hitter.  However, the 2013 New York Film Festival has now announced its full lineup, and it definitely gives TIFF a run for its money.

In addition to previously announced films Captain Phillips, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Her, NYFF will play host to screenings of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, James Gray’s The Immigrant, J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, and plenty more.  Hit the jump to check out the full lineup.  The 2013 New York Film Festival runs from September 27th – October 13th.

Oscar Beat: The Fall Festival Contenders

by     Posted 240 days ago

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It’s that time of year again, folks.  The explosion-filled summer blockbusters will soon be fading from multiplexes, and in will flow a number of smaller, more dramatic films poised to dominate the Oscar conversation as the awards machine gets up and running.  Some will meet high expectations, some will be disappointing, and some will come out of nowhere to take everyone by surprise.  We here at Collider ran a few awards-centric articles last fall that examined the Oscar race as it drew closer, but this year we’re happy to expand our awards coverage to a regular column titled “Oscar Beat.”

We’ll be covering anything and everything Oscar up through the 86th Annual Academy Awards on March 2nd, and if years past are any indication, there will be plenty to discuss.  In our inaugural installment of Oscar Beat, we’ll be taking a look at the upcoming Fall Film Festival circuit, which is where the heavy hitters of awards season traditionally premiere.  Hit the jump for more.

Spike Jonze’s HER to Close New York Film Festival

by     Posted 250 days ago

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This year’s New York Film Festival is poised to be bookened by two high-profile premieres.  Last week it was announced that director Paul Greengrass’ real-life dramatic thriller Captain Phillips will open the 2013 New York Film Festival, and today the fest announced that director Spike Jonze’s excellent-looking romance Her will act as the closing film.  Jonze’s pic stars Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely writer who falls in love with his operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and judging by yesterday’s trailer debut, Her looks to be characteristically offbeat and charming.

The New York Film Festival will also play host to the premiere of Ben Stiller’s directorial feature The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, bringing the current total of bona fide Oscar contenders that will be first seen at the fest to three.  The 2013 New York Film Festival runs from September 27th – October 13th.

Paul Greengrass’ CAPTAIN PHILLIPS to Open New York Film Festival; New Images Released [UPDATED]

by     Posted 260 days ago

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Director Paul Greengrass’ upcoming dramatic thriller Captain Phillips has been selected to open the New York Film Festival this year.  The film stars Tom Hanks as real life ship captain Richard Phillips who allowed himself to be taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009 in exchange for the safety of his crew.  Sony Pictures no doubt has high awards hopes for this one, and a NYFF premiere is a swell way to kick off the film’s awards campaign—Life of Pi premiered at the festival last year, going on to win four Oscars including Best Director.

Hit the jump to check out a few new images from the film, and click here to watch the first trailer.  Captain Phillips opens in theaters on October 11th. [Update: We've updated the article with high-resolution versions of the images.]

Ang Lee Talks LIFE OF PI, the Difficulty of Getting the Project Off the Ground, 3D as a New Artistic Form, Deleted Scenes and More

by     Posted 1 year, 193 days ago

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Last week at the New York Film Festival, I saw one of my favorite films of the year:  Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi.  Based on Yann Martel‘s “unfilmable” 2001 novel, the story centers on a young man (Suraj Sharma) who is stranded at sea with a Bengal tiger following a shipwreck.  Loaded with a great script, fantastic direction, amazing cinematography and CGI, and 3D that actually helps tell the story, Life of Pi’s universal message of hope, courage, and spirituality is sure to connect with audiences and critics alike when it opens in late November.  The film will definitely be up for a number of year-end awards.  For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage.

The day after the world premiere I got to sit down with Ang Lee for an exclusive interview.  We talked about what it was like to premiere the film at the NYFF, the lightning-fast Twitter reactions, whether he ever thought Life of Pi wouldn’t get made given the difficult road to production, how the eventual budget reduction changed the film, deleted scenes and the length of his first cut, the challenges of filming in 3D, whether he’ll use 3D on his future projects, how close the film is to completion (he still has 90 visual effects shots that aren’t done), future projects, and whether there’s a genre he hasn’t tackled yet that he still wants to work in.  Hit the jump for the video and transcript.

New York Film Festival Adds ROOM 237, THE PAPERBOY, and Special Screenings of THE PRINCESS BRIDE and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

by     Posted 1 year, 236 days ago

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Last week, we reported the line-up for the 2012 New York Film Festival, which included Life of Pi, Amour, and Flight.  Today, they’ve added some more noteworthy movies including Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy and The Shining documentary Room 237 (click here for my review of Room 237).  They’ve also added some special screenings including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a 25th Anniversary showing of The Princess Bride, and a must-see showing of the new, 8K restoration of David Lean‘s Lawrence of ArabiaThe Lawrence restoration will be available nationwide on October 4th.

Hit the jump to check out the additions to the line-up.  The 2012 New York Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 14th.

2012 New York Film Festival Line-Up Announced; Includes AMOUR, LIFE OF PI, and FLIGHT

by     Posted 1 year, 241 days ago

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The full line-up for the 2012 New York Film Festival has been announced.  I’ve been impressed with the line-ups for the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, but they both have a surprising omission: Michael Haneke‘s Amour, which one the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.  However, it won’t be bypassing the fall festival circuit entirely, and it will make its North American debut at NYFF.  The festival will also open with Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi and Robert ZemeckisFlight.  In between, you have other exciting films like David Chase‘s Not Fade Away, Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha, Roger Michell‘s Hyde Park on Hudson, Brian de Palma‘s Passion, and more.

Hit the jump for the full line-up.  Tickets for the 2012 New York Film Festival go on sale September 9th.  The festival runs from September 28 – October 14th.

David Chase’s Directorial Debut NOT FADE AWAY Will Make Its World Premiere as the Centerpiece Gala Selection of the 50th New York Film Festival

by     Posted 1 year, 242 days ago

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Director David Chase will see his film Not Fade Away make its world premiere as the Centerpiece Gala selection of the 50th New York Film Festival; not bad for a debut director!  The Sopranos creator/writer brings this coming-of-age tale, set in 1964 where a group of friends decide to form a rock band, led by new-to-the-scene, John Magaro. With a soundtrack produced by Steven Van ZandtNot Fade Away also stars Jack Huston, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote, James Gandolfini, Brad Garrett and Christopher McDonald. Look for the film to see limited release starting December 21st.  Hit the jump for the full press release and some new images from the film.

Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI to Open New York Film Festival

by     Posted 1 year, 244 days ago

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Director Ang Lee’s ambitious 3D adaptation of the classic Yann Martel novel Life of Pi has been chosen to open the New York Film Festival, where it will also be making its world premiere.  For those unaware, the story centers on a young man (Suraj Sharma) who is stranded at sea with a Bengal tiger following a shipwreck.  The simple premise gives way to themes of hope, courage, spirituality, and avoiding being eaten by a tiger.  The first trailer for the film wowed us with some truly spectacular visuals, and further footage really impressed convention goers at CinemaCon earlier this year.

As the film includes no big stars and centers on the dialogue-light relationship between a boy and a tiger, Life of Pi is a tough sell for general audiences.  The draw for holiday moviegoers will be the lush visuals, and I’m hoping Lee has cooked up an emotionally engaging and challenging adaptation of Martel’s novel.  As the film has now been selected as the prestigious opening film at NYFF, we’ll have our first reactions to the full film on September 28th (as well as a clearer “yay or nay” concerning the pic’s Oscar chances).  Life of Pi opens on November 21st.

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