Venice Film Fest: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence Is More Honest Than The Act of Killing

Categories: Film and TV

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In 2012, documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer made a splash with The Act of Killing, in which he sought out members of Indonesian killing squads, individuals who murdered thousands of innocent citizens accused of being communists after a military takeover in 1965, and invited them to re-enact their crimes in the style of Hollywood movies.

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Venice Film Fest: In Birdman, Michael Keaton Is Haunted by His Superhero Past

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
The gent at the Delta check-in counter back in New York sighed when he saw where I was headed. "Romantic Venezia!" he said, and the comment stopped me short, because film festivals located in the most beautiful settings in the world have a way of making you forget - almost - that you're in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The Venice Film Festival - this is the 71st edition - is held not in Venice proper, but on Lido, a summertime island where winter seems impossible, resplendent with dusty pink and ochre stucco villas. It is also the home of the formerly grand Hotel des Bains, where Thomas Mann wrote Death in Venice, and which, sadly, closed in 2010, destined to become a luxury apartment complex that has not yet materialized. I haven't yet walked by the Hotel des Bains on this trip, but I hope it's looking more cheerful than it did last year, when it sat dejected behind its majestic iron grillwork gate, a sad relic of past glory that even a Venetian Miss Havisham might find hard to love.

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Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
The November Man

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Title: The November Man

Where Does a November Man Rate On The Scale Of Cinematic Homo sapiens? Slightly above The January Man and substantially below The Omega Man.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two-and-a-half Rubber Souls out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Ex-spook is coaxed out of retirement for one last opportunity to murder indiscriminately in violation of international law.

Tagline: "A spy is never out of the game."

Better Tagline: "On Her Majesty's Senior Discount."


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Podcast: Why Did So Few People See Sin City 2?

Categories: Film and TV

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Very few people saw this movie.
Why did so few people see Sin City: A Dame to Kill For over the weekend? That and other topics are discussed in this week's edition of the Voice Film Club podcast with the Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek, joined as always by Amy Nicholson of the L.A. Weekly via the magic of the Internet.

The trio also discusses the latest YA adaptation If I Stay, the BDSM doc Kink, and they wrap with Alan and Amy split on relationship movie The One I Love, starring Elizabeth Moss and Mark Duplass.

Fashion on Demand: Five Fashion-y Things to Watch on HBO Right Now

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"Love, Marilyn" is yet another excuse to admire one of the greatest style icons of the 20th century.
Other than the insane Simpsons marathon on FXX, there is practically nothing to watch on television at the moment. (Sportsball doesn't count--it's always on.) Sure, we're muddling along with new episodes of Project Runway on Thursday nights, but beyond that we're talking about a wasteland of reality shows and syndicated re-runs.

For those of us who are #soblessed with HBO On Demand, the menu offers some relief. From Vogue to Marilyn Monroe to a little-watched HBO series, here are five fashion-centric gems to keep you occupied.

In Vogue (2012)

If someone offered you 90 minutes to pick the brain of some of the most famous names at Vogue, wouldn't you jump at the chance? Now you needn't worry about jumping, or the joint damage it could cause. Sit back, relax, and spend time with Hamish Bowles, Grace Coddington, and Anna Wintour--plus designers and A-list celebs like Nicole Kidman--via this 90-minute HBO documentary.

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Thoughts on FXX's Simpsons Marathon

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"Who knows what adventures they'll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable?"
FXX is currently in the middle of re-broadcasting all 552 episodes of The Simpsons, the longest-running sitcom and (American) animated program, and also the longest running scripted prime-time series ever (passing Gunsmoke in 2009). The show debuted in 1989, meaning anyone born that year has probably already earned a college degree and moved back in with their parents.

The marathon began last Thursday (8/21), and will run through Labor Day (9/1). Really puts those weekend-long Star Trek marathons Channel 39 used to run back in the day to shame, doesn't it?

Like many others, I watched my fair share of the first few days of the the marathon. It brought back a lot of memories, and also elicited a few observations. Some cromulent, some not so much.


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2014 Emmy Roundup: Lots of Dresses, Very Few Photos!

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Photos by Christina Uticone
Seth is so handsome, even in screenshots.
Seth Meyer made us laugh, the E! Network red carpet crew made us cringe, and the winners made us yawn. Another Emmys award show is in the books.

Ryan Seacrest's absence was deeply felt. If you watched even a few minutes of last night's E! Live from the Red Carpet coverage, you were probably flummoxed as you watched Giuliana Rancic anchor the rest of the commentary crew: Ross Matthews (who always holds his own through sheer charm), Kelly Osborne, and Kristin Dos Santos. Osborne is improving with every show, though she tends to repeat lines from more seasoned co-hosts (see: George Kotsiopoulos). Dos Santos, on the other hand, was almost unwatchable. At one point she used the phrase, "safe, but unpredictable" to describe a dress. What does that mean?!

Now, let's talk about dresses.

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The Leftovers: The Weight of Guilt

Categories: Film and TV

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There's just one episode left to go in The Leftovers, and they didn't soften the blow this week.

We last left a terrible murder suicide plot that Sheriff Garvey was involved in with the Guilty Remnant, but let's set all that aside. If you were looking for some kind of resolution to that it wasn't happening this week.

Instead, we go back to the days leading up to the Great departure, and with it we come to a dangerous crossroads for this show. Will it cater to the Rapture crowd, or will it be something more. I don't know, but we'll find out soon.

Sheriff Garvey's dad, the former chief of police, went cuckoo for Cocoa Puff's sometime between the start of the show and the Departure. They've danced around whether or not he hears crazy people voices or real voices. Here we see him before all that, and the contrast is terrifying. Once again, we're seen how little it takes to push a man over the edge.

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Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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Title: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Would You? Kill For Eva Green, I Mean? This interview is over.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two Bon Scotts out of five (RIP).

Brief Plot Synopsis: Tough mugs and bad broads live, love, and commit murder in a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Tagline: "There is no justice without sin."

Better Tagline: "But pants are optional."

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Reality Bites: Wahlburgers

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Sushi in a burger joint? Fackin' suspect.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

Was this really necessary?

I probably ask that question every week. Arguably none of the garbage I subject myself to on a weekly basis for your quote-unquote amusement *needs* to exist, in the purest, Maslow hierarchy sense of the word. And in fairness, once I realized A&E's Wahlburgers wasn't about famous siblings Mark and Donnie Wahlberg attempting to open a restaurant, but rather their brother Paul -- who is actually a chef -- I more or less accepted the premise.

Even though it significantly diminishes the potential for Marky Mark-related kitchen mishaps.

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