The House


Game of Thrones

Joffrey's death last week on Game of Thrones stood out from the show's many past fatalities in that it marked the first time a major character's demise prompted celebration rather than simply shock. So rapturously received was Joffrey's demise that some even took to finger-wagging over the glee, casting aspersions on those who would revel in the death of a minor, even a fictional one who made a number of Russian tsars look well-balanced in comparison. But as "Breaker of Chains" demonstrates within its first 10 minutes, even Joffrey's own family cannot muster much bereavement for the departed king. Standing over the boy's posed corpse in a private chamber, Tywin (Charles Dance) tells the next in line for the throne, Joffrey's younger brother, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), that Joffrey was not a wise or good king, and that his unfitness for rule contributed to his present state. For his part, Tommen appears far more nervous at being quizzed by his grandfather than he does standing over his brother's prepared body.

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TAGS: aidan gillen, breaker of chains, charles dance, daniel portman, dean-charles chapman, emilia clarke, game of thrones, hbo, lena deadey, maisie williams, Michiel Huisman, Natalie Dormer, nikolaj coster-waldau, recap, rory mccann, sophie turner, tony way


Orphan Black

Near the end of Orphan Black's season-two premiere, "Nature Under Constraint and Vexed," resourceful hustler and human clone Sarah Manning confronts her icy doppelganger, Rachel Duncan, in the offices of the Dyad Institute. As the ethically challenged scientific research center holds a lavish corporate gala, Sarah levies a gunpoint demand that she be reunited with her daughter, who disappeared in last season's cliffhanger finale. "There are other forces vying for our fate, Sarah," Rachel replies. "We'll get Kira back, together."

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TAGS: dylan bruce, Evelyne Brochu, francis bacon, inga cadranel, jordan gavaris, kevin hanchard, Matt Frewer, nature under constraint and vexed, orphan black, plan of the work, recap, Tatiana Maslany


Nathan SilverNathan Silver is predominantly preoccupied with chaos. In the middle of shooting his third feature, Soft in the Head, he decided to steer the improvised film's narrative arc in a new direction, retreating to the roof of the apartment building where he was shooting to scrawl out story beats on a napkin alongside his producer and Cody Stokes, his director of photography and frequent collaborator. The film, which opens this weekend at Cinema Village in New York, is inspired by Dostoyevsky's The Idiot and features an eclectic cast of trained actors working alongside non-professionals.

To most, this grab-bag scenario would sound daunting, but Silver revels in it. He explains that the actors and non-actors push each other, as the non-actors have a self-consciously fastidious attention to detail, and the actors are all worried that they haven't been given enough context (Silver doesn't show them his story treatments) and don't know where their characters are going. "They might completely disagree with [my method], which is funny," he admits. Whatever his approach to handling the madness, it's certainly successful. Our own Ela Bittencourt has praised this brashly funny entertainment for "Silver's psychological depth, where realism nearly implodes the more immediate exigencies of plot."

Among the newcomers in the cast is Sheila Etxeberría, who stars as Natalia, a reckless New Yorker and perennial outsider who's continually banished from the lives of those close to her until she ends up in a makeshift homeless shelter run by a naïve, daffy, and confrontationally friendly man named Maury (Ed Kane), who shepherds his ungodly flock as if they were his children.

The premise of an ostracized woman finding refuge in an unlikely new family will sound familiar to anyone who saw Silver's Exit Elena, about a live-in nurse whose charge is hospitalized, leaving her stranded and ineffectual in the home of a tumultuous suburban family. The setup also extends to his two upcoming films, the recently completed Uncertain Terms, about a home for pregnant teenagers, and Stinking Heaven, about a commune of recovering drug addicts in the early '90s. The latter features more familiar names than Soft in the Head, including Somebody Up There Likes Me's Keith Poulson and I Used to Be Darker's Deragh Campbell and Hannah Gross, but promises the same amount of madcap anarchy as his previous work.

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TAGS: cody stokes, ed kane, exit elena, fyodor dostoyevsky, nathan silver, sheila etxeberría, soft in the head, the idiot, uncertain terms


Maureen O'Hara and Robert Osborne

I emerged out of the train station and onto the roiling snake pit of Hollywood Boulevard this past Thursday afternoon with a singularity of purpose that has served well those who have learned to safely navigate this peril-ridden stretch of tourism and other desperate forms of humanity. Among the mass of logy sidewalk gawkers, shaggily costumed superheroes, and barkers hawking coupons for bus tours and free drinks at comedy clubs, the guy in the Creamsicle-colored tuxedo and matching top hat didn't even cause me to balk as he moved toward me on the sidewalk. He certainly didn't seem out of place, even as his lanky, six-and-a-half-foot frame towered above the stumpier heights of most everyone else bobbling down the Walk of Fame. But as we passed each other, this orangey giant suddenly offered up a loud, impassioned plea to the crowd, for no readily apparent reason, which put me at attention: "Remember Bob Hope!" Wondering if a declaration of fond tribute for, say, Mickey Rooney would have been timelier, I moved right along. No matter. There could be no doubt, if there ever was any, that the 2014 edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival, headquartered as always in the very heart of the mythological realm of Hollywood, was now officially under way, a gathering of film buffs vacationing from the real world among the icons and memories of movie-studio glory, where there would be no lack of warm remembrance for Hope or Rooney or any of a hundred other stars whose images and talents would be ceaselessly evoked and reminisced upon over the next four days.

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TAGS: a matter of life and death, blazing saddles, bob hope, Clive Brook, double indemnity, emeric pressburger, godzilla, how green was my valley, ishirô honda, john ford, johnny guitar, leo mccarey, make way for tomorrow, maureen o'hara, mel brooks, michael powell, Mickey Rooney, on approval, richard dreyfuss, robert osborne, tcm classic film festival, thelma schoonmaker, tokyo story, turner classic movies, yasujirô ozu


Streets of Fire

The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film seems to channel the sheer variety of the Internet, where it seems all movies from all eras are available. During 10 days, all sorts of films are made available at several venues within the Argentine capital, from horror flicks to forgotten commercial failures, classic studio productions, modern art-house fare, and experimental cinema. BAFICI seems to pride itself on its eclectic selection, and its broad pickings allow audience members to trace surprising connections between movies that might appear to have nothing else in common outside their shared inclusion in a festival. A sort of creative viewership is encouraged, as one comes to realize that an American rock fable, a miserablist Taiwanese drama, a visual poem with vampires, and an epic about social and political traumas in the Philippines have plenty in common.

Walter Hill's unsung Streets of Fire and Tsai Ming-liang's Stray Dogs have probably never been mentioned in the same sentence. Seen back to back, they reveal strikingly similar qualities, as both might or might not be science-fiction films. Streets of Fire is set in a fantasy land, which mixes costumes and vehicles from the 1950s with the urban squalor of the 1980s. When a motorcycle gang, led by fresh-faced Willem Dafoe, kidnaps a local pop singer (Diane Lane), it's up to the gruff masculine hero played by Michael Paré to save the day. There are references to an unnamed war and the city appears to be in a state of crisis (its police force is sorely understaffed and justice is meted out by civilians). The characters are so conventional that they recede into the background as they follow archetypal signposts, and because their exploits are so predictable, the environment absorbs our attention instead. Diners and theaters from the American Graffiti years have decayed underneath rubble and trash. In an abandoned factory, the motorcycle gang has established a decadent bar where naked dancers strike aggressive poses, using their sexuality as a weapon. Having been recently and luminously restored, Streets of Fire plays differently today than it did back in 1984. What was originally a blend between the present and the past is now the combination of two different pasts, which together suggest a kind of future.

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TAGS: american graffiti, amy heckerling, bafici, crime and punishment, diane lane, do androids dream of electric sheep, fyodor dostoyevsky, jim jarmusch, lav diaz, michael paré, norte the end of history, only lovers left alive, philip k. dick, stray dogs, streets of fire, tilda swinton, tom hiddleston, tsai ming-liang, vamps, walter hill, willem dafoe, wings of desire


Gabriel García Márquez

1. "Gabriel García Márquez R.I.P." The conjurer of literary magic, and Nobel laureate, dies at 87.

"Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose One Hundred Years of Solitude established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87. Cristóbal Pera, his former editor at Random House, confirmed the death. Mr. García Márquez learned he had lymphatic cancer in 1999, and a brother said in 2012 that he had developed senile dementia. Mr. García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal. His books were translated into dozens of languages. He was among a select roster of canonical writers—Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them—who were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience."

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TAGS: beards, bob's burgers, gabriel garcía márquez, ira sachs, james gray, jonathan demme, love is strange, rich juzwiak, roger corman, the immigrant


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






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