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The Godfather (#110 of 14)

Flotsam and Jetsam Pablo Trapero’s The Clan

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Flotsam and Jetsam: Pablo Trapero’s The Clan

K&S Films

Flotsam and Jetsam: Pablo Trapero’s The Clan

Focusing on the exploits of the real-life Puccio family, which in the early 1980s kidnapped and murdered several people in suburban San Isidro, just north of Buenos Aires, The Clan is technically unimpeachable and depressingly bland. Its director, Pablo Trapero, recently won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, a distinction he deserves more for his career than for his latest output. He’s one of the emblems of the Argentine New Wave, having come into prominence, 15 years ago, with gritty, urban fare like Crane World and El Bonaerense. Since then, he’s tackled more expensive projects, most notably White Elephant, and has sought to harmonize his patented style with more conventional and industrial models, to middling results. The Clan, his most financially successful film to date, and probably his best since Lion’s Den, still sees him struggling to find his voice in mainstream territory.

Empathy for a Genius Karina Longworth’s Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor

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Empathy for a Genius: Karina Longworth’s Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor
Empathy for a Genius: Karina Longworth’s Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor

I approached film critic Karina Longworth’s recent book, Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor, with a special mixture of anticipation and dread, as the film and theater icon has the distinction of being my first favorite actor. I caught his performances in Dog Day Afternoon and Scarface for the first time on the same random fateful summer night sometime in the third grade, and was subsequently awakened to the notion of acting as a unique and personal art, rather than merely a method of supporting a director’s intentions—whose art form I had discovered the year before. Throughout the years, Pacino has remained one of my favorite actors, and I’ve found that he’s often been misunderstood and underrated by critics eager to plug him into a conveniently tidy rise-and-fall narrative that doesn’t really fit.

15 Famous Big Weddings

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15 Famous Big Weddings
15 Famous Big Weddings

This weekend, multiplexes will be hit with what’s surely aiming to be the Valentine’s Day of wedding flicks. Directed by Justin Zackham, The Big Wedding packs Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, and more into a cast that’s led my Amanda Seyfried and Ben Barnes as the bride and groom. The titular celebration calls to mind a whole lot of substantial cinema nuptials, which stretch from good to great, and occur within chick flicks and masterpieces. We’ve rounded up 15 movie weddings that—aw, hell—take the cake.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

It’s at this point we had to ask ourselves, “Is Argo really going to end up a two-Oscar Best Picture winner?” Because while it seems almost certain to buck all sorts of precedent and take Best Picture, which of its six other nominations will be there to back it up? Honestly, the way things have been developing among the guild awards, the only nod that seems entirely out of reach is Alan Arkin’s bid for supporting actor. We’ll cover Best Editing in the next few days, but the movie still seems more of a spoiler than a frontrunner for original score and adapted screenplay*. In theory, that leaves Argo’s two sound bids to prevent the movie from achieving a dubious feat not achieved since Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. Some of us are going to hedge on our Oscar-pool ballots and give Argo one or both of them, but unless the topsy-turviness of the race infects every category, both it and Lincoln seem to lack the “bigness” this category seems to require.

If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot

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If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot
If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot

We’ve stormed the gates and are now officially part of the canon-forming establishment…or (fingers crossed) the canon-altering anti-establishment. That’s right, for its seventh installment, the venerable Sight & Sound poll to determine the 10 best films of all time is including among its ranks of voting members a whole slew of bloggers and new-media representatives, including a handful of writers from Slant.

Not, unfortunately, all of us. But, speaking on behalf of all of those who didn’t get a ballot, I can say we’re not jealous, but instead thrilled that the same critical profile that once placed Trash, Showgirls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Lickerish Quartet alongside Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, John Ford, and Carl Theodor Dreyer will be making its mark in what nearly any card-carrying cinephile recognizes as the most authoritative word on the canon.

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again Mafia II

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Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: Mafia II
Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: Mafia II

Avoiding speeding tickets is one of many things I don’t want to do in a video game. Yet 2K Games apparently thought I’d feel differently when designing Mafia II, since going over the speed limit in the presence of police officers (40mph on regular roads, 60mph on bridges and highways) will immediately lead to hot pursuit and, if you’re feeling too lazy to ditch the cops, a $50 fine. Since this sequel to 2002’s third-person PC sandbox title is a brazen rip-off of Grand Theft Auto in virtually every respect, this driving-related statute is the height of absurdity, forcing one to either leisurely navigate the NYC-ish Empire Bay—an immense annoyance, given how many missions require lengthy car rides—or to constantly risk courting law enforcement’s ire and a potential chase through crowded city streets. Admittedly, in the grand scheme of things, this one issue is reasonably minor, and is at least mitigated by the fact that one can enable a speed-limit device that prevents your car from exceeding the posted limit (plus, you can still run red lights). Yet it’s nonetheless indicative of this polished but wholly uninspired follow-up, which finds only ridiculous and/or meaningless ways to tweak its borrowed Grand Theft Auto template.