The House


Wild

Unremarkable films propped up by exceptional lead performances are as much a certainty of the autumnal season as yellow leaves and pumpkin patches. The one-two punch of Telluride and Toronto has served as the official launching pad for many such films over the years, and the Reese Witherspoon-starring Wild is the first to throw its hat in that dubious ring this go-round. Between this and his last award-courting effort, the McConaissance-completing Dallas Buyers Club, Jean-Marc Vallée would appear to be chasing the "actor's director" status currently enjoyed by David O. Russell. It may well work, but that doesn't change the fact that Wild, which is based on Cheryl Strayed's bestselling, Oprah-anointed memoir, is just as bogus as, well, Into the Wild.

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TAGS: cheryl strayed, enlightened, jean-marc vallée, laura dern, mike white, nick hornby, reese witherspoon, telluride film festival, wild


Macondo

Unlike many of its similarly scaled brethren, the Sarajevo Film Festival is very much at one with its host city: equal parts up-and-coming and garrulous, and the product of oft-divergent influences. Founded as a humble cultural initiative toward the end of the four-year siege of the city in the '90s, it has over the last 20 years swelled into a redoubtable behemoth, a happy sprawl of different sections, countless industry events, regional talent promotion, and local cinephilia that often stretches long into the night. The region that forms the main focus of the festival's endeavours has expanded in equal kind, now a conspicuously heterogeneous swathe of southeastern "Europe" linking Austria and Azerbaijan. Trying to navigate your way through the swirling mass of sidebars, meetings, and parties can feel futile; it's fortunate that going with the flow offers a most enjoyable ride.

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TAGS: David Robert Mitchell, evaporating borders, force majeure, it follows, iva radivojević, macondo, ramasan minkailov, Ruben Östlund, sarajevo film festival, sudabeh mortezai


David Lynch

1. "David Lynch, Who Began as a Visual Artist, Gets a Museum Show." Hilarie M. Sheets, for the New York Times, on "David Lynch: The Unified Field" ahead of its September 13 opening at the Pennsylvania Academy.

"Despite the cultlike devotion to Mr. Lynch's films, 'nobody's paid attention to him in terms of my colleagues at American museums,' observed Robert Cozzolino, the senior curator of the Pennsylvania Academy, who organized the show. It brings together paintings and drawings from five decades and includes a trove of barely exhibited early work from Mr. Lynch's time in Philadelphia that set the tone for everything that followed. 'I think the art world has been suspicious of David, although he was trained as an artist,' said Brett Littman, executive director of the Drawing Center in New York, referring to the fashion of creative people prominent in one arena trying their hand in another. 'He's not James Franco.' Mr. Littman organized a smaller show of Mr. Lynch's works on paper and photographs last year in Los Angeles at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, which represents the artist."

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TAGS: anthony gonzalez, bright lights film journal, david lynch, david lynch: the unified field, ferguson, george lucas, hilarie m. sheets, jon stewart, joseph mcbride, m83, nicolas fromageau, orson welles, pennsylvania academy, rosewater, star wars, the new york times, too much johnson


The Cosmopolitans

1. "Whit Stillman's The Cosmopolitans." Richard Broday reviews the filmmaker's Amazon pilot.

"There are no Fitzgeralds or Hemingways, no Steins or Pounds, in Stillman's still-young set of expatriates. (Or, rather, there is one Hemingway—Dree, Ernest's great-granddaughter, who plays one of the American expats.) If there's artistic ambition and aesthetic adventure at work among the group that he gathers, it isn't yet evident; there are no late-night discussions of lofty creative ideals. Rather, there's love and real estate—and a constant jockeying for a nose ahead in the competition for esteem (or 'reputation'). Cafés there are: the series has a long café scene up front, in which two American men, Jimmy (Adam Brody) and Hal (Jordan Rountree), talk with Sandro (Adriano Giannini), an Italian cynic of a certain age, who offers the young men aphoristically critical life advice and gives them a display of knowing worldliness that sparks both action and confusion—and that lures a young woman from the next table."

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TAGS: angelina jolie, brad pitt, david chase, david fincher, gap, my so-called life, richard brody, Richard Lawson, the cosmopolitans, the simpsons, the sopranos, whit stillman


Gaza

1. "Israel, Hamas Cease-Fire Holds" Calm settled over the Gaza Strip and Israel on Wednesday as sides weigh gains.

"An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was holding Wednesday, as many people on both sides of the conflict wondered what was gained during 50 days of fighting. The Gaza war—the 3rd round of fighting since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007—left more than 2,200 people dead, caused widespread destruction in the densely populated coastal territory, and paralyzed large parts of southern Israel during much of the summer. After more than seven weeks of fighting, the two sides settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt will maintain a blockade tightened seven years ago, despite Hamas' long-running demand that the border restrictions be lifted. Early Wednesday the Israeli military said there were no reports of violations since the cease-fire went into effect at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) Tuesday. Hamas declared victory, even though it had little to show for a war that killed 2,143 Palestinians, wounded more than 11,000 and left some 100,000 homeless. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and six civilians were killed, including two by Palestinian mortar fire shortly before the cease-fire was announced."

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TAGS: alejandro gonzález iñárritu, anita elberse, birdman, david lynch, ferguson, gaza, hamas, harvard university, ice bucket challenge, israel, michael brown, Michael Keaton, palestine, peter debruge, symbiopsychotaxiplasm: take one, venice film festival, william greaves


Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

When you reach a certain age, you realize just how much of your life you've spent wasting time. Time that you'll never get back, and time that could have been used productively, time in which you could have been learning something, creating something to admire, building something to care about, or just plain loving someone. There's a big wide world out there, full of possibilities and ways to spend time before you die. Then there's Diablo III.

The game offers precisely the experience that fans who love the series come to it for, and this latest release, the Ultimate Evil Edition, which includes the base game and the Reaper of Souls expansion, has all the features one expects. The mouse-based controls have been expertly adapted to a controller, online multiplayer includes all the desired functions, and the ability to play co-operatively on the same screen will entice a specific audience. The gameplay itself represents the peak of the isometric "Dungeon Crawl" genre, with an amazing variety of settings, masses of loot to collect and trade for, and smart RPG elements seamlessly crafted into the adventuring.

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TAGS: blizzard entertainment, diablo, diablo iii: reaper of souls ultimate evil edition, magicka


Emmys 2014

1. "2014 Emmy Winners." Breaking Bad, Modern Family Earn Top Emmy Awards in Night of Repeats and Upsets.

"In a night marked by a few upsets and a host of repeat winners, Breaking Bad grabbed its second consecutive Emmy for best drama series while Modern Family made it a record-tying fifth consecutive win for comedy series. The surprise wins at the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards came not from buzzed-about newbies such as Netflix's Orange Is the New Black or HBO's True Detective but lower-profile contenders including Sherlock: His Last Vow. HBO's The Normal Heart and FX's Fargo prevailed as expected for movie and miniseries, respectively, but the PBS drama Sherlock wound up leading the Emmy field overall with a total of seven wins—a result that no Emmy prognosticator managed to forecast. CBS' The Good Wife got its moment in the sun with Julianna Margulies taking her second win for lead drama actress. Julia Louis-Dreyfus scored her third straight win as lead comedy actress for HBO's Veep. And Allison Janney became a rare double winner in snaring supporting comedy actress for CBS' Mom—a week after landing guest actress in a drama for her turn on Showtime's Masters of Sex."

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TAGS: adrian martin, alfred hitchcock, breaking bad, david fincher, emmy awards, gone girl, jason bailey, kim's video & music, lgbtq, love is strange, Menahem Golan, modern family, mpaa, nick pinkerton, notorious, sherlock, the apple


Doctor Who

Last August's announcement of Peter Capaldi's casting as Doctor Who's new leading man was met with almost universal approval. The highly respected actor's long list of film and TV roles includes two previous appearances in the Doctor Who universe, as Caecilius alongside David Tennant's Doctor in 2008's "The Fires of Pompeii," and his powerful performance as the doomed civil servant John Frobisher at the center of the Torchwood miniseries "Children of Earth." In the whimsical early scenes of "Deep Breath," with the TARDIS being vomited onto the banks of the Thames in Victorian London by a time-displaced dinosaur that had accidentally swallowed it, Capaldi gets to have fun with the Doctor's traditional post-regeneration wackiness—and some of his funny moments resonate strongly with those in Tom Baker's first episode nearly 40 years ago.

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TAGS: catrin stewart, dan starkey, deep breath, doctor who, jenna coleman, neve mcintosh, peter capaldi, recap, steven moffat


Richard Attenborough

1. "Richard Attenborough R.I.P." The acclaimed actor-director dies at 90.

"Acclaimed actor and Oscar-winning director Richard Attenborough, whose film career on both sides of the camera spanned 60 years, has died. He was 90. The actor's son, Michael Attenborough told the BBC that his father died Sunday. He had been in poor health for some time. Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement calling Attenborough 'one of the greats of cinema.' 'His acting in Brighton Rock was brilliant, his directing of Gandhi was stunning,' Cameron said. Ben Kingsley, who shot to global fame for his performance as Mahatma Gandhi, recalled Attenborough's passionate 20 year struggle to bring Gandhi's story to the big screen. The film won eight Oscars, including best picture, best director for Attenborough and best actor for Kingsley. 'He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him,' said Kingsley. 'I along with millions of others whom he touched through his life and work will miss him dearly.'"

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TAGS: alex pappademas, david thomson, frank miller, gawker, miley cyrus, mtv video music awards, rich juzwiak, richard attenborough, Sam Smith, sin city, white bird in a blizzard, wrecking ball


The Leftovers

The return of the deer. The crack in the wall. The proverb on the calendar. "The Garveys at Their Best" is one long presentiment of disaster—the "tremors," as Patti Levin (Ann Dowd) remarks, before "the big one." Circling back to the day before the Sudden Departure, this striking interlude in the season's narrative arc satisfies our desire to know what life was like in Mapleton before October 14th, and to understand the intensity of the grief that followed. But the episode rejects our craving for an explanation as to why, littered with premonitions that add up to nothing more than the knowledge that the course of human events is beyond our command. "A man said to the universe, 'Sir, I exist,'" Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) reads, toasting his father (Scott Glenn), Mapleton's Man of the Year. "'However,' the universe replied, 'that fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.'"

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TAGS: amanda warren, Amy Brenneman, ann dowd, carrie coon, chris zylka, Christopher Eccleston, hbo, joan didion, Justin Theroux, margaret quallet, recap, scott glenn, the garveys at their best, the leftovers, the year of magical thinking






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