The House


'71

'71 isn't meant to look like one continuous shot, as Birdman is, but it often feels that way anyway. Unfolding largely over one very long day and night in Belfast during the year of its title, it follows a fresh-faced British soldier thrust into a divided city whose peace he's in no way prepared to keep. Movies about the Troubles have a strangely high success rate (In the Name of the Father, The Crying Game, The Boxer, and last year's Shadow Dancer all come immediately to mind), yet Yann Demange's directorial debut stands out even within that distinguished company for its hauntingly immersive atmosphere and minute-to-minute urgency.

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TAGS: '71, jack o'connell, telluride film festival, yann demange


Birdman

Birdman may just prove that there are second acts in life, American or otherwise. Not only Michael Keaton's best role in more than a decade, it also represents a surprisingly mellow Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose worldview, if not especially brighter, has at least been filtered through a comic lens. It may be wishful thinking, but the global nihilism of his earlier projects now seems mere prelude to a surprisingly poignant meditation on fame and its lingering aftereffects.

Which isn't to say that the film could in any way be described as "feel good." Starring Keaton as a past-his-prime superhero actor looking to regain credibility and relevance by adapting, directing, and starring in Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love on Broadway, it's an exercise in a Murphy's Law-level of absurd occurrences besieging its play-within-a-film. Birdman, né Riggan Thomson, has to be told of the importance of social media by his fresh-from-rehab daughter (Emma Stone) while also dealing with his manager (Zach Galifianakis), ex-wife (Amy Ryan), last-minute-replacement co-star (Edward Norton), co-star whom he's sleeping with (Andrea Riseborough), and co-star whom he actually gets along with pretty well (Naomi Watts) on the eve of their first preview. Iñárritu manages to give each of these characters something interesting to do, the power dynamics between them constantly shifting.

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TAGS: alejandro gonzález iñárritu, amy ryan, andrea riseborough, birdman, edward norton, emma stone, emmanuel lubezki, Michael Keaton, naomi watts, rope, telluride film festival, zach galifianakis


Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

1. "The Essential Labor Films." Ella Taylor, for Fandor, on the must-see movies of the working world.

"Is manual labor dying? For that matter, is the job as we know it on its way out the door? What does it feel like to work fifteen-hour days sewing jeans in Guangzhou for large-waisted Westerners—and then get laid off by recession? Exactly who were those guys who blew up the world economy in 2008? Did Mark Zuckerberg really invent Facebook because he didn't get the girl? Why do we love procedurals? What the hell is 'women's work?' Can a Parisian rat aspire to gourmet chef? And last but by no means least, can I please have that striped power suit Rosalind Russell wore to get the story and reel in Cary Grant in His Girl Friday? Among the twenty-five films I've chosen to honor Labor Day you won't find Man With a Movie Camera, or Modern Times, or even anything by that fly-on-the-wall of the working world, Fred Wiseman. Not because they don't belong, but because this isn't a top twenty-five list. It's a blend of the canonical, the catholic and the idiosyncratic—a personal best culled from movies that speak to the pressing concerns of our age. Some chart the great changes that have rolled over our working world—global corporatism, marvelous innovation, alienation, unemployment, class inequality and conflict, environmental ruin. Others parse their meanings of these shifts, or draw beauty from ugliness or rage against the machine. Still others dwell on work undertaken for love of labor or fellow human beings."

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TAGS: abel ferrara, alex pappademas, dee lockett, ella taylor, ferguson, forbes, jennifer lawrence, kim's video & music, labor day, masters of sex, nick pinkerton, pasolini, saturday night live, scott mendelson, slate, tom schiller


10:04Working at the Park Slope co-op, 10:04's unnamed narrator wants to give some advice to a fellow volunteer. The woman, Noor, has just revealed that, not long after her father's death, she learned her father wasn't actually her father. She associated with his Lebanese ancestry, and she has difficulty comprehending what that now entails, knowing her relatives in Beirut aren't actually her relatives. A published writer dealing with a successful publication, the narrator worries, though, that his encouraging words will register as "presumptuous co-op nonsense," if he claims that "discovering you are not identical with yourself, even in the most disturbing and painful way still contains the glimmer, however refracted, of the world to come, where everything is the same but a little different."

Lifted from a Hasidic belief of the afterlife, the clause "where everything is the same but a little different" serves as the epigraph for Ben Lerner's second novel, becoming something close to a refrain. It's this notion—the ability, through art, to offer conflicting versions of the self—that Lerner, or Lerner's narrator, confronts. And it's to the author's great credit, most especially, that his words register not as "presumptuous co-op nonsense," as a pretentious or pedantic affront, but rather as a humorous and intelligent exploration of art's place in the present day.

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TAGS: 10:04, ben lerner, faber & faber, leaving the atocha station


The 15 Greatest M83 Songs

M83

M83's endearing tendency to go for the jugular every single time has allowed their entire catalogue to be easily lumped into a staggering pile of grandiosity. Yet, with over a decade of hyper-sensory dreamgaze to their credit, the diversity of their oeuvre is often overlooked. The group was originally formed in 2001 by Anthony Gonzalez and Nicholas Fromangeau, and their humble beginnings in big-beat sentimentality and introverted minimalism shifted dramatically with 2003's Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. While this masterful synthetic odyssey was the beginning of the end for Gonzalez and Fromangeau (Fromangeau would leave to spearhead Team Ghost, which is worth a spin for Dead Cities loyalists), Gonzalez evolved further with the sparkling neon space-gaze of 2005's Before the Dawn Heals Us. The wistful Saturdays=Youth and the arena-shaking juggernaut Hurry Up, We're Dreaming introduced M83 to the masses, but after several years of being out of print, the band's first three albums were re-released on CD, vinyl, and digital download last week. Mute Records will also digitally release remix and B-sides collections for Dead Cities and Before the Dawn Heals Us on September 9th. To celebrate, we took a look back at M83's catalogue and compiled a list of their very best tracks.

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TAGS: anthony gonzalez, before the dawn heals us, couleurs, cyborg, dead cities red seas & lost ghosts, don't save us from the flames, hurry up we're dreaming, i'm happy she said, lower your eyelids to die with the sun, m83, midnight city, moonchild, morgan kibby, nicholas fromangeau, run into flowers, saturdays = youth, skin of the night, teen angst, unrecorded, we own the sky, you appearing


Doctor Who

After last week's season opener, which cushioned the shock of the new Doctor by putting him into a story which was full of the characters and trappings of his predecessor's time, the real era of Peter Capaldi starts with "Into the Dalek." Writer Phil Ford, who took David Tennant's Doctor into unfamiliar and uncomfortable psychological places in 2009's "The Waters of Mars," provides a tale that gives Capaldi the opportunity to show how different his Doctor is from Matt Smith's.

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TAGS: doctor who, fantastic voyage, into the dalek, jenna coleman, peter capaldi, recap, Samuel Anderson, steven moffat, Zawe Ashton


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






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