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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIIIn case you've been wondering what Charlie Sheen's been up to, it appears he's been busy portraying another Charlie: Charles Swan III, the womanizing protagonist of Roman Coppola's latest, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. Along with the wordy, head-trippy title, the film's flagship poster suggests a very Hunter S. Thompson-esque romp, the sun beating down on a whole lot of hedonistic, '70s-era elements. The ad deftly achieves a groovy, throwback mood, nailing that evocative cool that's also been used to promote flicks like Jackie Brown. Its red-tinted characters back up against a hazy California sky, and their duds and hairstyles scream disco-day nostalgia (yes, that's Jason Schwartzman sporting a Jheri curl). An accomplished music video director known for keen stylization, and for collaborating on the meticuolus work of his sister Sofia and friend Wes Anderson, Coppola no doubt hand a strong hand in the movie's one-sheet development, bring artful verve to the push of a film that seems quite the hard sell.

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TAGS: a glimpse inside the mind of charles swan iii, aubrey plaza, bill murray, francis ford coppola, hunter s. thompson, jackie brown, jason schwartzman, killing them softly, man with the iron fists, patricia arquette, poster lab, posters, roman coppola, sofia coppola, two and a half men, wes anderson


Harvey Milk

Reflections on the gay community's political progress...and its future.

Supreme Court weighing gay marriage cases.

The TV war that proves America is great.

Complaints aside, most face lower tax burden than in 1980.

The Sundance Film Festival announces films in three sections.

Spotify's 100 most popular tracks of 2012.

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TAGS: academy awards, boardwalk empire, downton abbey, gay marriage, jay-z, kristin thompson, michael joshua rowin, nicki minaj, salman rushdie, spotify, sundance film festival, supreme court of the united states, taxes


Quvenzhané Wallis

How to prepare for the surreal awards season.

How The New World reshapes an American origin story in the style of its creator.

Milos Forman to receive Directors Guild's highest tribute.

NYU student replies-all to 40,000 classmates, sparking "Replyallcalypse."

Anthony Kaufman on the top 10 nonfiction films of 2012

Michael Atkinson on why we watch biopics.

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TAGS: anthony kaufman, christopher nolan, directors guild of america, kōji wakamatsu, michael atkinson, michael sicinski, milos forman, new york university, nypd, quentin tarantino, scott foundas, scott tobias, terrence malick, the new world, united red army


The Impossible

[Editor's Note: Oscar Prospects is your weekly analysis of an awards contender and how it's likely to fare come Oscar nomination morning. The column is comprehensive, so beware of spoilers.]

If there's a film this season that's poised to nab Oscar's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close vote, joining a generously wide Best Picture field for its cloying take on a recent tragedy, it's definitely J.A. Bayona's The Impossible, a markedly odd prestige picture with enough capital-A acting and capital-I issues to distract from its dire mix of sentiment and insensitivity. Charting one family's struggle to survive amid the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, this epic, fact-based tearjerker is already raking in critical acclaim, despite its pedestrian retooling of the disaster-movie formula. On this site alone, venom has been spat regarding the central family's ethnicity, which was changed from Spanish to British in a move that reeks of commercial compromise. The contentious racial topic may well miff some Academy members of color (and the astute ballot-casters who love them), but likely not enough to quell the movie's apparent wave of supporters. (Get it?) One should hope that savvier voters will simply dismiss the film for reasons more foundational than whitewashing, for The Impossible is essentially a topical twist on a Roland Emmerich deathfest, wherein viewers are subjected to endless weather-fueled carnage, with the salvation of the core cast serving as self-satisfied consolation. Indeed, this is all inspired by a true story (as an emboldened pre-film title card is sure to hammer home), but, true or not, the strength of a story is in the telling, and what's peddled here is the convenient eminence of folks to whom, in comparison, all other survivors pale.

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TAGS: 21 grams, academy awards, angelina jolie, anthony hopkins, beasts of the southern wild, biutiful, daniel day-lewis, demián bichir, denzel washington, elena ruiz, ewan mcgregor, extremely loud and incredibly close, fernando velazquez, funny games, hugh jackman, javier bardem, joaquin phoenix, john hawkes, juan antonio bayona, julia roberts, life of pi, mark bech, naomi watts, Óscar faura, quvenzhane wallis, roland emmerich, sergio g. sanchez, the impossible, the orphanage, the telegraph


Keep the Lights On

The nominees for this year's Independent Spirit Awards have been announced.

Adele sells 10 million copies of 21.

Meanwhile, Rhianna scores her first number-one album.

Paul Feig selects his favorite Criterions.

John Semley defends Justin Bieber's overall troll.

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TAGS: 21, adele, bill o'reilly, billboard, distant thunder, farran smith nehme, fox news, independent spirit awards, making waves new romanian cinema, new zealand, paul feig, rhianna, richard brody, satyajit ray, the criterion collection, the hobbit: an unexpected journey, unapologetic


Mies Julie

It takes some nerve for a playwright to adapt a fellow playwright's work, especially since most reworkings come a cropper. Recently, Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie transplanted August Strindberg's one-act to post-war Britain. Its 2005 Broadway production, starring Sienna Miller and Jonny Lee Miller, was a cold affair that fell flat with critics and audiences. Now writer-director Yael Farber has gone back to the same Swedish well and come up with Mies Julie, which in any language would be a white-hot success.

A beautiful young man and woman hurl themselves at a wall, a table, and each other with abandon and a vengeance. There's an evocative live score and a light fog—a feast for the senses that sets the pulse racing. Concurrently, political points give food for thought. Farber colonizes Strindberg's original, transforming the classic about class into an exposé of South Africa's post-apartheid era. Julie is white and John is black. The basic dynamic remains. In the kitchen of a vast manor, Julie, the daughter of the estate's owner, flirts with John, her father's favorite valet. The power seesaws. John's got the physical strength to dominate her. Julie's got social standing on her side. It doesn't end happily.

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TAGS: after miss julie, august strindberg, bongile mantsai, daniel pencer, hilda cronje, jonny lee miller, matthew pencer, patrick curtis, patrick marber, sienna miller, tandiwe nofirst lungisa, the postman always rings twice, yael farber


Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is best in show at this year's IFP Gotham Film Awards.

The New York Times releases its list of the 100 notable books of 2012.

Artists affected by Sandy can now apply for the NYFA Emergency Relief Fund.

Kevin B. Lee on the power of padding in John Carpenter and Monte Hellman's first films.

What would Warhol have thought of the Empire State Building's first-ever "light show"?

It's pretty much raves across the board for Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty.

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TAGS: andy warhol, baseball, empire state building, gotham independent film awards, hurricane sandy, john carpenter, jonathan rosenbaum, joseph gordon-levitt, justice league, kathryn bigelow, kevin b. lee, marvin miller, mitt romney, monte hellman, moonrise kingdom, nyfa emergency relief fund, the new york times, zero dark thirty


Larry Hagman

Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing in Dallas dies at 81.

The truce on drugs.

With 35mm film dead, will classic movies ever look the same again?

The making of Michael Haneke's Amour.

How the Dogme movement reinvented Denmark.

Nick Pinkerton gets ironic.

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TAGS: 35mm, alex gibney, alexandra schwartz, amour, dallas, david lynch, denmark, dogme, drugs, gay marriage, jonathan rosenbaum, larry hagman, lincoln, mea maxima culpa silence in the house of god, michael haneke, morgan freeman, nick pinkerton, nw, stanley kubrick, steven spielberg, zadie smith


The Walking Dead

When it first started, The Walking Dead was about the immediate sensation of living in a post-apocalyptic world. In the shadow of a crumbled society, survivors adjusted to the violent realignment of their lives by banding together, struggling to stay human. Now, because of all they've seen and suffered, the characters who've made it this far are shells of their former selves. Survival is no longer simply a matter of avoiding being eaten by zombies; it also requires a frigid sense of detachment and perhaps even cruelty, both of which course through "When the Dead Come Knocking." No one anymore seems to know what it means to be human.

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TAGS: amc, andrew lincoln, chandler riggs, dallas roberts, danai gurira, david morrissey, lauren cohan, laurie holden, michael rooker, norman reedus, recap, steven yeun, the walking dead, when the dead come knocking


Ferocious Reality: Documentary According to Werner HerzogFor the better part of two decades, a debate has been waging in documentary film studies over exactly what constitutes a nonfiction film, which essentially comes down to a central question: How much power and control does the director yield over the proceedings? In his excellent new monograph, Ferocious Reality: Documentary according to Werner Herzog, Eric Ames uses Werner Herzog's documentaries, nearly 30 films, to make a case for an evolved understanding of nonfiction cinema. However, Ames doesn't wish to simply attempt a blurring of lines between fiction and nonfiction in Herzog's work; rather, he takes up Richard Schechner's concept of "restored behavior" (or "twice-behaved behavior"), what Ames will refer to as "performance," and demonstrates how Herzog's films "perform" under this operative logic. Drawing on film studies titans like Bill Nichols, Linda Williams, and P. Adams Sitney for his framework, Ames lucidly addresses these larger issues while "performing" meticulous close readings of his own, organized into seven chapters, by theme. What materializes is a fascinating, provocative examination of Herzog's complex oeuvre, written with a simultaneous eye for irreverence and certitude, not unlike Herzog's own work.

Performance attains two tracts—that of diegesis (the content of Herzog's films) and exegesis (how the filmmaker's work can be interpreted over time). According to Ames, these two lines culminate in Grizzly Man (2006), where Herzog is aligned with subject Timothy Treadwell physically (filmmaker), but divergent on philosophical grounds, since Herzog believes "the common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder." Yet such explicit attempts at distance only further obfuscate the distinction, as subject and artist become further intertwined. These entanglements raise an important question: Is Herzog the subject of his own documentaries? These divergences-cum-convergences are primarily seen in Herzog's more autobiographical work—namely, My Best Fiend (1999), which Ames describes as "a cinematic self-portrait of Herzog as refracted through the prism of his love-hate relationship" with actor Klaus Kinski. Thus, autobiographical acts, as Ames calls them, are inseparable from the films proper, as Herzog is often inscribed within them, be it through voiceover narration, off-screen voice, or his actual presence on screen. Ferocious Reality seeks to situate the autobiographical within the overall concept of performance, as these more renowned Herzog docs exemplify.

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TAGS: bill nichols, eric ames, ferocious reality documentary according to werner herzog, grizzly man, klaus kinski, land of silence and darkness, linda williams, my best fiend, p. adams sitney, richard schechner, roger ebert, the minnesota declaration, the white diamond, timothy treadwell, tom gunning, university of minnesota press, walker art center, werner herzog, wodaabe herdsmen of the sun






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