Finally, a Movie with Liam Neeson That's as Good as Liam Neeson

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Atsushi Nishijima - © 2014 - Universal Pictures
Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Special guest Inkoo Kang, film critic at TheWrap and news editor at Indiewire's Women and Hollywood blog, joins Alan Scherstuhl of the Village Voice and Amy Nicholson of the LAWeekly to discuss a variety of topics on this very big podcast, including: The Maze Runner, what it's like interviewing director Steve McQueen, Amy's highlights from the Toronto Film Festival, Kevin Smith's Tusk, and Matthew Crawley, err, Dan Stevens's role in two movies out now -- A Walk Among the Tombstones and The Guest. Alan makes an anti-recommendation for Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? and Inkoo heartily endorses season 2 of Masters of Sex on Showtime.

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Venice Update: Ethan Hawke's Good Kill Is an Intimate War on Terror Drama

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Lorey Sebastian
Ethan Hawke in Good Kill.
My last day in Venice always makes me blue. On the way to my final screening, a tourist with an Eastern European accent I couldn't quite identify stopped me a block or so from the sad and shuttered Hotel des Bains and asked me if it was open. "I have seen it in the Visconti film," he said, referring to the 1971 adaptation of Death in Venice, "and was hoping to go inside." When I told him that the hotel had been closed for several years now, and that the proposed construction to turn this grand old building into luxury condominiums had stalled out, he looked as forlorn as the building itself does. "I had hoped they'd turned it into a museum," he said.

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Venice Film Festival: Michael Almereyda Makes Magic with Cymbeline

Categories: Film and TV

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Cymbeline is the misunderstood schoolchild of Shakespeare's plays, the misfit who speaks up at odd times and sometimes says the wrong thing, awkward in all kinds of obvious ways. It's a special-needs play, but the beauty of it is right there in its bones, not least because in it we can see the great playwright's life -- that is to say, his career -- flashing before his eyes. A scheming queen, a heroine who disguises herself as a boy, a pair of semi-star-crossed lovers, a potion that gives the illusion of sleep -- it's all there in Cymbeline, a kind of greatest-hits scrapbook, and the play that even those who claim to love Shakespeare are least likely to defend.

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Venice Film Festival: Al Pacino Re-Discovers His Inside Voice

Categories: Film and TV

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Millennium Films
Most of us would agree that there's only one Al Pacino. But this year in Venice, there are actually two: Pacino appears in two films at the festival this year, David Gordon Green's Manglehorn, about a lonely Texas locksmith stuck in a romantic dream, and, playing out of competition, Barry Levinson's The Humbling, the story of an actor who, after being struck with crippling anxiety, gets his mojo restored -- some of it, anyway -- by a manipulative muse (played by Greta Gerwig). In some ways, they're two versions of the same character, grizzled romantics who reach out toward love just one more time. But in only one of these films does Pacino utter the line "I was thinking of going to the pancake jamboree down at the Legion."

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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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Fox Searchlight
Michael Keaton and Edward Norton square off in Birdman.
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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Alamo Drafthouse Announces Third New Location in Las Colinas

Categories: Film and TV

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Courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse
An artist's rendering of the new Alamo Drafthouse location in Las Colinas' Music Factory complex

Dallas/Fort Worth is getting a third Alamo Drafthouse movie theater to fulfill the needs of the Metroplex's more hardcore and addicted cinephiles.

The theater chain announced earlier today that it plans to open a third location in Las Colinas in the new Music Factory shopping and entertainment complex located at State Highway 114 and Fuller Drive, according to a released statement.

James Wallace, the DFW programmer for the movie theater chain, says the theater will officially break ground for the new movie theater this Saturday during their "Rolling Roadshow" screening of the Steven Spielberg classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, which answers the question "Why the hell are they doing an outdoor screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in an open field in Las Colinas?"

"We knew the announcement would hit this week and we obviously needed to announce [the Raiders] event earlier to start promoting it," Wallace says. "We had to announce it and it kind of worked in our advantage to grease the rumor wheel."

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Spanish Lake Tells a Story about Race That's Familiar in Dallas, Ferguson and Everywhere

Categories: Film and TV

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Facebook.com/SpanishLakeFilm
A scene from Spanish Lake, a new documentary about race in a suburb near Ferguson, Missouri.
During a recent evening rush-hour, KERA was serving commuters one of its usual panels of NPR experts talking about the news, in this case the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. The talking heads all agreed: America needs to have a good heart-to-heart with itself about race.

Are we really ready for that conversation?

If so, Matt Smith has just the thing to break the ice. He's a producer of a new documentary in which residents of Spanish Lake, a St. Louis suburb near Ferguson, speak candidly about race, white flight and the government's role in creating divided communities very much like Ferguson. Or, for that matter, very much like those in Dallas, where the film Spanish Lake gets a special showing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the AMC NorthPark. (Tickets, $11, are available only online through Tugg.)

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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.


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Podcast: Which Expendables Stars Surprised Us? And We Watch the New Yorkiest Movie

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Phil Bray - © 2014 - Lionsgate
Well, who was it? Find out in this week's pod.
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice and Amy Nicholson of L.A. Weekly sift through the smoldering pile of action movie that is the Expendables 3 and discuss which star has the most surprising scenes. Amy and Stephanie talk about Love is Strange, which might be one of the most New York movies out in a very long time, and not just because of the rent plot point.

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