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Tag: New York Film Festival (1-10 of 16)

New York Film Festival preview: 10 films that can make it anywhere

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The film-festival circuit this time of year is not unlike presidential-primary season. Venice or Telluride are sort of like the Iowa caucus, an important first step for a film to generate some name recognition and Oscar buzz—but not exactly the setting for a coronation. Toronto is the traditional Oscar-campaign battleground, a sort of New Hampshire primary that often separates the contenders from the pretenders. Last year, Toronto unofficially nominated 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Dallas Buyers Club, and those films went on to collect major awards.

But this year, the races still remain wide open after the first new rounds, and the industry’s eyes now shift to the New York Film Festival—suddenly cast as sort of the awards season’s Super Tuesday—for more clarity on who the frontrunners will be. Foxcatcher, which debuted at Cannes and played at Telluride and Toronto, will screen, as will Whiplash, director Damien Chazelle’s Sundance fave with Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. A few others, like Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner and Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria will try to recapture some early momentum for their actors, while other much-anticipated heavy-hitters enter the race for the first time.

Of course, the New York Film Festival isn’t all about the Oscar race. It’s a celebration of film, old and new, with a unique international flavor. There’s something for everyone between today and Oct. 12, but here are 10 films worth watching. READ FULL STORY

See Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in 'Inherent Vice'

We’ve already seen a glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello, the stoner private investigator at the center of the much-anticipated adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.

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New York Film Festival to honor Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is set to honor two actors during this year’s New York Film Festival. First up, Ethan Hawke will sit down for “An Evening With” segment on September 30, during which he will participate in an “intimate dinner and a conversation between the guests and NYFF Director Kent Jones,” according to a press release.

Then, on Oct. 8, Richard Gere will do the same. For the festival, which is in its 52nd year, the “An Evening With” segment is meant to recognize “the work of individuals who have made significant artistic contributions to film culture, and will continue to do so in the future,” per the release. Past honorees include Nicole Kidman, David Cronenberg, Cate Blanchett, and Ralph Fiennes, among others.

Both Hawke and Gere have films in this year’s festival, which runs from Sept. 26 to Oct. 12. Hawke is attending as a director for the documentary Seymour: An Introduction, while Gere stars in Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind.

New York Film Festival sets special screening of 'Spinal Tap'

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The 2014 New York Film Festival will host a series of special events, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced in a press release today. A number of films will make their U.S. premieres at the festival, in addition to an anniversary screening that will turn the whole festival up to 11. While dates have yet to be announced, This Is Spinal Tap will receive a 30th-anniversary screening. In 1984, Rob Reiner’s mockumentary satirized the lifestyle of rock musicians and has since been a staple of movie history.

Star and writer Christopher Guest will attend the screening, through no other members of the cast and crew have been confirmed. Previous anniversary screenings have attracted many cast members before, however, for films like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Princess Bride, so other names may be announced. READ FULL STORY

'Foxcatcher,' 'Mr. Turner,' and 'Whiplash' join New York Film Festival lineup

The New York Film Festival announced its Main Slate selection of films today, revealing the 27 movies that will join gala screenings of Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, and Birdman when the 52nd festival begins on Sept. 26. The list includes honored films from Cannes, including Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, David Cronenberg’s Map to the Stars, and Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, as well as Sundance’s big winner, Whiplash.

“In this year’s lineup, we have great big films alongside films made on the most intimate scale, personal epics and intricately constructed chamber pieces, films of great serenity and films that leave you dazed, first films and last films, all equally vivid, alive, and essential,” said Kent Jones, the festival director, in a statement. “Taken altogether, this year’s Main Slate reminds me, all over again, why I love the cinema so much, and it will do the same for you.” READ FULL STORY

Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' to debut at New York festival

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, based on Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 crime novel, will debut at the New York Film Festival this October. The film, which reunites the director with Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and also stars Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Benicio Del Toro, is scheduled to open in theaters on Dec. 12. READ FULL STORY

'Gone Girl' to open New York Film Festival

Gone Girl, David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling mystery thriller, will open the 52nd New York Film Festival, as first reported by Variety.

The movie stars Ben Affleck as a man who may have killed his missing wife (Rosamund Pike) after they retreat to his hometown in Missouri, following professional setbacks in New York City. Former EW TV critic Flynn wrote the screenplay, and the cast also includes Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, and Casey Wilson. READ FULL STORY

On the scene with Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and more at the premiere of 'Her'

The New York Film Festival screened Spike Jonze’s Her — his first solo writing feature — on its closing night, Oct. 12. Jonze, along with cast members Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde, arrived on the red carpet at Alice Tully Hall to celebrate the film’s world premiere.

The movie centers on Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly, a lonely, big-hearted man who falls in love with his Siri-like operating system “Samantha” (smokily voiced by Scarlett Johansson) while coping with his recent divorce. Set in a futuristic version of Los Angeles, Theodore works as a ghost writer for BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, dictating heartfelt missives from loved ones who can’t string the words together themselves. Sensitive and reclusive, he finds fulfillment through his complicated relationship with “Samantha.”

For director Jonze, the premiere was a special homecoming. “The New York Film Festival means a lot to me,” Jonze said before the screening. “This is where I got to premiere my first film, Being John Malkovich.” Accompanied by his family and most of his cast — except Johansson, who “is in the ether with us as she is in the movie,” he said — Jonze presented his highly anticipated film to a full house.

Though Phoenix showed up to the premiere with Jonze, the elusive actor didn’t stop for comments on the red carpet, instead racing inside early. But Mara, who plays a pivotal, albeit small, role as Theodore’s ex-wife, gamely talked about her part and how Theodore’s lengthy, but failed relationship with her character drives his need. “You see our relationship unfold,” Mara told EW. “We’ve been together many, many years, and you see all the stages of it.”

In fact, Jonze was reluctant to cast Mara as Theodore’s heartbreak because she seemed too young for Phoenix. “Joaquin is older than me, but he feels kind of young, he has a young spirit,” Mara said. “When I read the script, it was just so powerful, I loved it so much, so even though Spike thought I was too young, I went after it and convinced him to hire me.”

Kent Jones, the festival’s director of programming, echoed Mara while introducing Her: “[Spike] made a film that, when we saw it, we instantly fell in love with,” he said. Jones added that the selection committee wanted the film to close the festival because it mixed lighthearted humor with deeply haunting themes of human emotion, loneliness, and melancholy.

And with the diverse subject matter covered in Her, Mara said, it’s tough to pinpoint just one lesson from Theodore’s relationships.

“There’s so many thought-provoking ideas, and I don’t think there’s one thing to take away from it,” the actress said, shaking her head. “Every day while shooting it, I would drive home and have a million things running through my head about relationships, about everything; I think that’s kind of what happens when you see the film as well.”

Her opens in select theaters Dec. 18 and nationwide Jan. 10, 2014.

'12 Years a Slave' has special homecoming at New York Film Festival

12 Years a Slave premiered at Telluride and was crowned the presumptive Oscar frontrunner in Toronto, but its screening at the New York Film Festival last night was a special sort of homecoming. The movie, based on an 1853 memoir, tells the story of a free black New Yorker from Saratoga named Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who is kidnapped and trafficked into Southern slavery, and some of Northup’s descendants came to Manhattan from upstate to view the film with the Lincoln Center audience.

Since Toronto, director Steve McQueen’s movie has been celebrated as “slavery’s Schindler’s List,” the most unflinching and intimate study of our country’s most shameful sin. While Roots was a huge cultural television event in the 1970s and Quentin Tarantino had his own stylistic take on slavery in Django Unchained, few Hollywood films had put slavery under the microscope. “It’s obviously a very difficult historical moment that happened in America — hugely shameful, hugely painful,” McQueen said after the screening. “Previously [in Hollywood], obviously it was very very difficult and it was stuck somehow. But with the situation of Trayvon Martin, with having the first black president, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, it’s created this kind of perfect storm where there’s a thirst to sort of reconnect with that past, to see where one’s going, and to see where one’s at.” READ FULL STORY

On the scene with Ben Stiller, Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, and more at 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' NYFF premiere

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty made its world premiere as the New York Film Festival’s Centerpiece Gala Presentation on Saturday, Oct. 5. Directed by Ben Stiller, the film stars the actor in the titular role of a man with a penchant for “zoning out,” who goes on a fantastical journey to save his job at Life magazine along with the job of the woman of his dreams (Kristen Wiig). Stiller and the cast, including Wiig, Adam Scott, and Patton Oswalt, came out to celebrate the film’s premiere screening at Alice Tully Hall.

For producer John Goldwyn, the long road to a Secret Life of Walter Mitty remake started with Pursuit of Happyness scribe Stuart Conrad’s script. “In every other version, the script skewed closely to the original film, and his didn’t,” said Goldwyn, whose legendary grandfather produced the 1947 musical-comedy version. The modern Mitty is now less of a hapless daydreamer and more of a man who takes it upon himself to step out of his head and into real life. “It gave the character clarity. That’s what got Ben on board, Fox on board, got the thing moving down the track,” added Goldwyn.

Said Stiller, “We just wanted to honor the material and tell the story pretty simply. But I think there’s a lot beneath the surface in the Walter character, like the idea of what people have underneath. That’s something everybody in the cast related to.”

Adrian Martinez, who plays Hernando, Walter’s co-worker at Life magazine, marveled at Stiller’s work ethic. “I can’t even imagine directing a film of this size and performing and producing and being so conscientious of every detail and staying present with his fellow actors in every scene,” he said.

Scott, for his part, relished the chance to play a bearded baddie who’s heading a downsizing team at Life. (He currently stars as supportive husband and all-around good guy Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation.) “I really love A-holes,” said Scott. “I love watching them in real life, and I love watching pretend ones in movies. Heady s—heads are some of my favorite fake people to watch. I want to keep them out of my life, but I love watching them.”

Oswalt, who is featured in an undisclosed role (“I’m totally not being coy: Ben Stiller told me I can’t talk about it”), and newcomer Alex Anfanger, who plays one of Scott’s cronies, shared where they go in their minds whenever they “zone out.” Anfanger said, “I dream about what it would be like if I died. That’s a really morbid thing to say.” He quickly added, “It’s at least an epic, awesome death.”

Oswalt said his own daydreams involve imagining the continuation of scenes in movies. “I really would love to be Jerry Stiller, oddly enough, in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three when he’s standing next to Walter Matthau when the last robber sneezes and gives it away,” he said. “Matthau just puts his head back into the room like, ‘You just — Dude.’ Then they freeze it because they got him, but what happens [next]?”

Stiller’s wife, actress Christine Taylor shared a tidbit about a dream Stiller fans are hoping to see come true. When asked about the long-anticipated sequel to Zoolander, Taylor said, “Zoolander 2, you know, everyone wants to make it,” adding with a shrug, “There’s a script!”

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens nationwide on Dec. 25.

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