‘The Act of Killing’ Tops Sight & Sound 2013 Poll

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End of year lists can be great for highlighting stuff you may have missed, and the annual poll from UK film magazine Sight & Sound, one of the first 2013 year-end lists out of the gate, has a number of films included that are worth tracking down. The magazine polls over 100 “international critics, curators and academics,” taking a top-five list from each. The magazine’s list of top films (with some tied for a couple berths) is generated from those votes.

Documentary The Act of Killing, which follows as men responsible for genocidal killings in Indonesia confront and recreate their crimes as film scenes, took first place by a margin of five votes. Gravity and Blue is the Warmest Colour are the second and third place choices.

The full list is below, complete with trailers for each film, so you can be introduced to whatever films on the list are unfamiliar. Read More »

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Noah Baumbach‘s last film, Frances Ha, was shot and finished without many people knowing about it; the director’s involvement was only revealed just before the film premiered at Telluride. He’s currently in production on the film While We’re Young, about which we also know little.

Now it seems like the Greenberg and The Squid and the Whale director is taking a similar approach with another film; the difference is that this is an animated project, for a major studio. Even better, the film, Flawed Dogs, is based on recent work by cartoonist and author Berkley Breathed. The adaptation was announced a couple years ago, but this is the first we’ve heard of Baumbach’s involvement. Read More »

Amanda Seyfried

Frances Ha is earning rave reviews in its limited rollout, but Noah Baumbach isn’t about to rest on his laurels. Instead, he’s already busy getting his ducks in a row for his next directorial effort, While We’re Young.

Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, and Adam Driver are already set to star in the film, and now Baumbach is rounding out the lead quartet with Amanda Seyfried. The Les Miserables actress started moving in on the role several weeks ago and has since entered final negotiations. Hit the jump for plot and character details.

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What is Frances Ha about? I’ve watched this trailer a couple times, and can’t quite tell you. Not because this is an Upstream Color situation, where the trailer is rather obscure, and the film it advertises is hardly typical. Rather, this Noah Baumbach film co-written by and starring Greta Gerwig looks like a pretty standard old-school indie, as it follows a young woman (Gerwig) who can’t quite get her life together.

There’s a synopsis below that will tell you a bit more, but really it’s just better to watch the trailer, which is spilling over with Gerwig’s winning charm, and the beat of David Bowie’s ever-infectious ‘Modern Love.’ Read More »

After a decade of false starts on the big screen, an adaptation Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections looked to finally be making some headway on the small screen. HBO began developing it as a series with producer Scott Rudin last fall, and quickly signed director Noah Baumbach as well as a high-profile cast including Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. The novel, which won the National Book Award in 2001, centers around an elderly couple and three adult children as they gather for “one last Christmas” near the turn of the millennium.

But alas, it seems this incarnation of the project isn’t going anywhere, either. After viewing the pilot, the premium cable has chosen to pass on the series. While HBO apparently liked the episode and the performances, it was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the premise. The book’s plot jumps back and forth through time, filling in the characters’ backstories, and HBO worried that it would be difficult for viewers to follow. The decision was not related to this week’s straight-to-series order of True Detective; with Luck off its plate, HBO would have had the resources to do both. [Deadline]

After the jump, the West Wing gang prove they’ve still got their walk-and-talk skills.

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While the Madagascar franchise has never drawn Pixar levels of respect (what does, really?), for kid-oriented entertainment you could do a lot worse that these films. The series has generally been cute, mildly amusing, and totally inoffensive — which may not sound like glowing praise, but that’s a lot more than I can say for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — and the newest entry, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted seems to be along the same lines.

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith are on board once again as a quartet of Central Park Zoo animals just trying to get back to New York. Unfortunately, they wind up in Europe instead, where they’re chased by a ruthless animal control squad led by Capitaine Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand). In an effort to escape their clutches, they take up with a circus traveling across the continent, meeting new friends like Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain), and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short) along the way. Watch the first full trailer after the jump.

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I know already I’ve gone on and on about how excited I am by HBO’s adaptation of Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections, but considering the talent signed on — Noah Baumbach, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest — can you blame me? Today the good news continues with the report that Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rhys Ifans could be up for parts in the series as well. More details after the jump.

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Hollywood’s had a long history with botched adaptations of beloved novels, but from here it looks like fans of Jonathan Franzen‘s acclaimed book The Corrections have nothing to worry about. After years of attempting to bring the story to the big screen, producer Scott Rudin eventually turned to HBO — and things have been shaping up nicely from there.

The Squid and the Whale writer-director Noah Baumbach signed on to helm and (with Franzen) pen the drama pilot earlier this fall, while Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest joined the project several weeks later. Now Ewan McGregor has boarded the series as well, in the role of Cooper and Wiest’s screwup middle child. More details after the jump.

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