The House


Foxcatcher

1. "Cannes Film Festival Unveils Star-Studded Lineup for 67th Edition." Films from Tommy Lee Jones, Bennett Miller, David Cronenberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Hazanavicius, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh will all compete for the Palme d'Or.

"Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman, Moneyball director Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius' Chechnya war film The Search, Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall and David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars will all be part of the competition lineup of the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in May. The lineup is heavy on films featuring Hollywood and international stars, but somewhat light on U.S. directors. Overall, 18 films, down from 20 last year, will compete for the festival's main award, the Palme d'Or. One film could be added, organizers said. The opening film, Olivier Dahan's Grace of Monaco, will screen out of competition. Other competition titles include Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner about the classic painter, Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent, Two Days, One Night from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who are competing for Dardenne's third Palme d'Or win, Canadian director Atom Egoyan's The Captive, Japanese director Naomi Kawase's Still the Water and Timbuktu from Abderrahmane Sissako. Plus, the living legend of French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard, will be back in competition and on the Croisette with his latest work, Goodbye to Language."

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TAGS: 8 mile, bennett miller, bilge ebiri, cannes film festival, david cronenberg, jean-luc godard, jon hamm, jon jost, ken loach, mark rappaport, michel hazanavicius, mike leigh, only lovers left alive, ray carney, sesame street, streaming music, tommy lee jones, under the skin


Traitors

The Arab Spring has many faces. Malika (a charismatic Chaimae Ben Acha), the lead singer of the eponymous all-girl punk rock band at the center of writer-director Sean Gullette's debut feature, Traitors, is a representative of the restless generation in the Moroccan port city of Tangiers. Inspired by the Clash hit, the Traitors practice a song with the refrain, "I'm so bored with Morocco, but what can I do?" To Malika's father, his daughter is a misfit because she's 25 years old and unmarried. She also doesn't seem very interested in holding on to her job at an international call center. Her only interest, it seems, is to perform with her band, and her only goal is to raise enough money so the group can rent a recording studio to cut a demo.

The Boston-born Gullette, best known for co-writing and starring in Darren Aronofsky's Pi, is currently based in Tangiers, his wife's hometown, and he clearly has empathy for his adopted city. In the first half of the film he reveals a skillful eye (and ear) for the quotidian in a portrait of middle-class life in urban Morocco and how an energetic young generation is effected by their familial relations. Take Malika, whose mother makes sure her two daughters get their breakfast before she heads out to clean apartments. Her father owns a garage, but seems to spend most of his time in coffee shops. So when the girl learns that her father's business is failing, and that he's neglected his family's finances as well, she feels she must help keep the roof above her family's heads in addition to trying to raise cash for her band.

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TAGS: chaimae ben acha, darren aronofsky, pi, sean gullette, soufia issami, The Clash, traitors, tribeca film festival


Grave of the Fireflies

1. "The 100 Best Animated Movies." World-famous animators pick the best animated movies ever, including Disney and Pixar movies, cult movies, kids movies, stop-motion, anime and more.

"Chances are the first movie you ever saw was animation. Exuberant, colorful and full of wonder, animation is the stuff of childhood. It introduces us to the magic of cinema, and there's no doubt that, as we researched the 100 best animated movies of all time, the nostalgia factor was overwhelming. Then again, as we polled over 100 experts in the field—from directors like Fantastic Mr. Fox's Wes Anderson, Ice Age and Rio's Carlos Saldanha, Wallace & Gromit's Nick Park, to critics and hardcore fans alike—it became clear that animation doesn't just mean kids and family movies. Worldwide innovators have adapted the form to include action, politics, race and sex. Animation has grown up, sometimes uneasily, right before our eyes. We know you'll find something to love in our authoritative ranking of the best animated movies ever made. The timeless Disney classics. The best Pixar films. Brilliantly sophisticated modern works from Japan's cottage industry, anime, and especially from its Studio Ghibli. Films that make you weep, laugh, sing along and wish upon stars. Take some time to check out our contributors' personal lists, each one an invitation to further explore avenues of stop-motion, computer-generated imagery or good old pen-and-ink fantasy. Let us know what you think, in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. Did we get it wrong or leave out an essential title? One thing is certain: Animation is an endless well of fun. We're sure it goes deeper."

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TAGS: abbas kiarostami, animation, anthony mann, cannes film festival, Carlos Saldanha, chris marker, david fincher, fantastic mr. fox, gone girl, ice age, imogen sara smith, nick park, pixar, rio, studio ghibli, wallace & gromit, walt disney, wes anderson


Ice Poison

Audiences are likely to be drawn to Ice Poison because it's the rare feature film from Myanmar, the South East Asian nation formerly known as Burma that has only recently reemerged on the world stage after decades of isolation. But you won't see the beauty or richness of the Burmese culture that visitors to the popular tourist cities of Yangon or Mandalay get to experience. In fact, director Midi Z—Burmese-born and based in Taiwan—has stated his intentions are deliberately the opposite. He wants to show the grim reality faced by the majority of the population who live in dire poverty in the rural areas, left underdeveloped for over a half century since Burma gained independence from the British.

A farmer and his son face destitution in Lashio, the principal town in the country's northern, China-bordering Shan State. "Everything is more expensive except the vegetables we grow," says the farmer, who cultivates an arid patch of land in the mountains. He treks down to the town below in order to tap various relatives for a loan, but as everyone he approaches has their own tale of woe, they refuse him. And though a factory owner offers the son a job, the farmer believes he can make more money by getting his son to operate a motor-scooter taxi service. And so he offers to exchange his cow for an old scooter belonging to the factory owner.

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TAGS: ice poison, midi z, tribeca film festival


Estelle Parsons Estelle Parsons has always found something interesting to do. Eighty years ago at her local community theater, she starred as a boy who's transformed into a princess. Now in Eric Coble's The Velocity of Autumn, she's playing a woman who threatens to blow up herself and her entire Brooklyn block if she's not allowed to live and die as she pleases. In between, Parsons "showed up on time and ready to work." That's about as much credit as she'll take for her success. She's got a New Englander's distaste for self-aggrandizement, or as she says: "I'm repressed." The 86-year-old may not admit it, but she's a trailblazer.

Parsons was one of only two women in her class at Boston University Law School and was in the first group of women to be accepted to Harvard Law School. At 21, she was the youngest person, and first woman, to be elected to the Marblehead Planning Board, and as the first "Today girl," she was also television's first female political reporter. In film, she won an Academy Award for her first major role in Bonnie & Clyde, and was nominated for her subsequent film, Rachel, Rachel, though cinephiles may also know her as much for her BAFTA-nominated turn in Melvin Van Peebles's groundbreaking The Watermelon Man.

Before The Velocity of Autumn went into previews at Broadway's Booth Theatre, Ms. Parsons spoke with me about her work, what drew her to acting, and retirement.

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TAGS: al pacino, august: osage county, bonnie & clyde, booth theatre, eric coble, estelle parsons, ethel merman, grace kelly, jessica chastain, joe papp, rachel rachel, roseanne, salome, the velocity of autumn, the watermelon man, today


Donna Tartt

1. "List of 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners." The 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists, and the judges' comments.

"Criticism: Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer for her criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise. Finalists: Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times for her trenchant and witty television criticism, engaging readers through essays and reviews that feature a conversational style and the force of fresh ideas; and Jen Graves of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly, for her visual arts criticism that, with elegant and vivid description, informs readers about how to look at the complexities of contemporary art and the world in which it's made."

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TAGS: adam nayman, amazon, anne rice, cameron crowe, donna tartt, inga saffron, linda holmes, milton keynes, noah berlatsky, paul verhoeven, pulitzer prize, Say Anything, scarlett johansson, showgirls, under the skin


VideolandPart media studies, part cultural history, part ethnography, Daniel Herbert's Videoland: Movie Culture at the American Video Store is an unusual and often unusually compelling study of the emergence and disappearance of American movie-rental stores. Unusual, because Herbert's work is primarily derived from empirical research conducted at video stores across the country, as he observed locations and interviewed employees and customers for a deeper, almost phenomenological sense of the video store as lived experience, from both sides of the video counter.

Herbert's writing also comes from personal experience, as he worked at Alphaville Video in Albuquerque from 1999 to 2002—information which he openly shares in the book's introduction. His admission speaks directly to a nostalgia for a culture which has largely disappeared, almost as a means of legitimating himself within cinephilic culture. Working at a video store, for Herbert and several of those interviewed, constitutes something of a right of passage into a specific kind of cinematic education, perhaps one of saturation and immersion. Specifically, Herbert discusses how the employees at Scarecrow Video in Seattle, WA view their jobs as "like playing a game of trivia all day," since they're surrounded by like-minded cinephiles.

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TAGS: alphaville video, black swan, blockbuster video, daniel herbert, gigli, le video, mad dog time, movie gallery, scarecrow video, the king's speech, university of california press, videoland: movie culture at the american video store


Rökysopp & Robyn

When fellow Scandinavians and frequent collaborators Rökysopp and Robyn announced plans for a joint tour back in December, one couldn't help but hope that, given that neither act had released a new album since 2010, new music might be on the horizon as well. Robyn hinted via Twitter that she was recording with Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland, but it wasn't until this morning that we received official word that the fruits of those labors, Do It Again, will be released on May 26th. The five-track "mini album" (we used to call those EPs back in my day) opens with the epic, 10-minute anthem "Monument," which was inspired by a sculpture by Brazilian-American artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite. Listen to a preview below:

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TAGS: do it again, juliana cerquerira leite, junior, monument, none of dem, robyn, Royksopp, svein berge, The Girl and the Robot, torbjorn brundtland


Zac Efron

1. "2014 MTV Movie Awards: Here Are The Real Winners And Losers. Victory is about so much more than a trophy.

"By the time you read this, the 2014 MTV Movie Awards will be over: the trophies dispensed, the house cleared out and the many celebs in attendance off to either celebrate their successes or nurse the wounds of defeat. And if you've taken a peek at the night's final list of winners, you might even think that you know exactly who in Hollywood should be doing a victory dance until dawn. But you'd be wrong! Because just because somebody took home a Golden Popcorn, that doesn't mean they won the MTV Movie Awards. That's something else entirely! No, there are true winners (and losers for that matter). So who were the actual champions, and who should we seriously feel sorry for?"

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TAGS: alex pappademas, black and white, bookstores, cindy sherman, crossroads film festival, james franco, michael sicinski, mtv movie awards, nicolas cage, spark trailers, zac efron


Lana Del Rey

Lizzie Grant needs a vacation. The singer-songwriter has produced a steady stream of new material since she premiered her pop chanteuse alter ego, Lana Del Rey, on YouTube way back in 2011. Before her 2012 album Born to Die even had a chance to cool, she'd already dropped a companion EP (Paradise), a string of soundtrack cuts ("Once Upon a Dream" from the upcoming Disney flick Maleficient being the most recent), and a short film (Tropico). Last week, "Meet Me in the Pale Moonlight," a surprisingly discofied cut, leaked onto the Internet, and while Del Rey dismissed it as an old song written for another artist, the blogosphere's ravenous response points to an audience that isn't just eagerly anticipating the singer's new single, but expecting the unexpected.

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TAGS: born to die, dan auerbach, lana del rey, maleficent, meet me in the pale moonlight, once upon a dream, paradise, single review, the black keys, tropico, ultraviolence, west coast






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