Film Podcast: Annie, Mr. Turner, Big Eyes and So Much More

Categories: Film and TV

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Mr. Turner
We begin this week's Voice Film Club podcast with a strange story about Giles Corey, who famously said, "More weight!" as stones were laid upon him during his witch trial. The end of the year is sort of like that for film critics, who are pressed upon with all the Very Important Movies of the Year. Your hosts Alan Scherstuhl, Stephanie Zacharek, and Amy Nicholson run down many of the movies coming out soon, including:

- Annie
- Leviathan
- Mr. Turner
- The Interview
- Big Eyes
- Unbroken
- Selma
- American Sniper
- Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
- Winter Sleep
- Into the Woods
- The Gambler

Oh! We have an email address now: Send jokes, complaints, poems, or comments to filmpod@villagevoice.com


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Five Super-Long Films to Carry You Through Winter

Categories: Film and TV
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Should the cruel arctic gods send another polar vortex to the Twin Cities, we must be prepared to spend a large chunk of our winter indoors. But what a wonderful opportunity to watch some of the immersive, super-long films currently streaming online. After all, if we can binge-watch entire seasons of TV series like The Wire and Breaking Bad in a few sittings, a four-hour epic film should be a piece of cake. With that in mind, here are five lengthy works of cinema to ward off cabin fever.

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The Colbert Report's Greatness Arrived With Its Very First Episode

Categories: Film and TV

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The Colbert Report's Greatness Arrived With Its Very First Episode

By Ian S. Port

The funniest and most incisive show on television is ending this week -- so let's look back at how it began. On October 17, 2005, a power-suited Stephen Colbert furrowed his eyebrows and showed off highlights of his new set. Red letters above him shouted, "The Colbert Report." The title of his show was silhouetted in back of those letters, so it appeared twice. The host's last name was also proclaimed by a plasma-screen on the front of his desk, and it flashed four times on a ticker that ran below it, and was even spelled out on either side of that desk -- "which," he pointed out, "is itself shaped like a giant C." There were nine "Colbert"s in all, not counting the initial he sat in.

"But this show is not about me," the host insisted. "No, this show is dedicated to you, the heroes. And who are the heroes? The people who watch this show.

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The Ten Best TV Shows of 2014

Categories: Film and TV

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"My Dream Breakup" on Inside Amy Schumer.
TV continued to unmoor from its origins and transform into something else this year. No longer tethered to a specific appliance, a particular kind of storytelling, or even commercial concerns, "television" now feels like an increasingly obsolete word.

But that's a discussion for another time, for we've come to celebrate TV, not mourn it. Among the bajillions of hours of programming that's constantly available, here are the 10 shows, miniseries, and films that really stood out:

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Seth Rogen Proves Butthole Jokes Can Sometimes Be Mightier Than Bombs

Categories: Film and TV

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Photos by Ryan Orange

Update: Sony has officially canceled the theatrical release of The Interview following terrorist threats against theaters -- and the announcement that several major theater chains had opted not to exhibit the film. Read Sony's official statement at the end of this post.

Sony assumed North Korea would hate the movie. The question was: What would it do? Pyongyang had just tested its atom bomb and threatened "preemptive nuclear attack." And the Supreme Leader with his finger on the trigger was barely over 30, with less than two years of experience.

But Kim Jong-un didn't care about Olympus Has Fallen, even though the violently anti–North Korean 2013 film showed his people strangling women, murdering unarmed men, kidnapping the U.S. president, and even executing their fellow citizens. That wasn't worth a fight.

A year later, North Korea had a bigger enemy: Seth Rogen.

See also:
He Brought Down the Wrong Empire: Seth Rogen's
The Interview Won't Show in Theaters [Movie Review]


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The Best Films of 2014

Categories: Film and TV

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Here are movie moments from 2014 I'll never forget: Gugu Mbatha-Raw's sad pop tart smacking her ass in Beyond the Lights, the sickroom choked with flowers in Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo, Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst's Greek island all-nighter in The Two Faces of January, and the entire soundtrack of Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo's Begin Again, which I've hummed every week since. But hard choices must be made. The movies that made it through to my annual top 10 represent a full range of what the cinema can offer — and as such, I'm presenting them as awards.

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Marion Cotillard Wins -- Twice -- in Our 2014 Film Critics' Poll

Categories: Film and TV

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Marion Cotillard was voted best actress in this year's film critic's poll.
Sundance Selects
What kind of circle is time again? A year after blowing the doors off our annual critics’ poll, golden boy Matthew McConaughey won just a single vote for his turn in the loudest movie of the year, Christopher Nolan’s tears-in-space effort Interstellar, which has tied with the unprescient Transcendence as 2014’s worst film. (Transcendence dreamed that Johnny Depp’s character would take over every screen in the world — that didn’t happen.) But his margin of victory lives on, this year in the form of Marion Cotillard, who wins best actress twice: first for the Dardenne brothers’ vote-gathering drama Two Days, One Night, then besting second-place Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin) with her turn in James Gray’s glorious melodrama The Immigrant, available now on Netflix streaming because Harvey Weinstein doesn’t believe Oscar voters will bite.

Our voters bit, bless them, ranking The Immigrant as this year’s seventh best film, just beneath Cotillard’s other winner. Meanwhile, Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer’s cryptic alien creep-out, landed at number two, a capital showing for a movie that chucks out plot and story beats. Glazer’s film was edged out only by the inevitable: Boyhood, from Richard Linklater, also our best-director winner. Linklater had wanted to call this long- gestating experiment 12 Years, but Steve McQueen’s 2013 slave drama stomped that out. Boyhood is a more reductive title, but certainly a truer one: What else are most movies about, these days, than boyhood? And isn’t it grand that most of the top films toasted by our critics are actually about something else? That’s encouraging — and almost enough to make you feel better about the fact that even if combined, both Cotillards and Johansson’s Under the Skin won’t rake in a fraction of what Interstellar managed in a weekend.


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Fargo's Martin Freeman on Swapping His British Accent for a Minnesotan One

Categories: Film and TV

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Screengrab from Late Night
Aw jeez.
It has been a big year for the little-show-that-could about some little towns with big accents. Of course, we're talking about Fargo -- this year's nearest and dearest to our hearts on the small screen.

Martin Freeman, who played Lester Nygaard on the the show's first season, isn't close to being Minnesotan. In fact, he's not even American. The Tumblr hive mind worships him as the earnest John Watson on Sherlock, and Tolkien die-hards know him as resourceful Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's never-ending Hobbit films.

Tuesday night, Freeman revealed to Seth Meyers just what it takes to ditch his distinct British lilt for the elongated vowels of the Minnesota tundra. (Hint: The key is not to become a total parody of what everyone else thinks Minnesooootans sound like.)

See also:
Fargo Renewed for a Second Season, Don't Cha Know


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Netflix's Marco Polo Is Everything That's Wrong With Game of Thrones

Categories: Film and TV

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Despite its sumptuous displays of feudal opulence -- cavalries, silk gowns, all the naked female extras money can buy -- Netflix's Marco Polo feels distinctly like scraps. Turgid, fatuous, and humorless, the streaming site's newest series is a grave miscalculation of what has made Game of Thrones, its obvious model, such a TV phenomenon. Marco Polo borrows from the HBO institution its most sensationalistic and/or problematic qualities -- its unforgiving violence, aggressive male gaze, exoticizing of non-Western cultures -- while neglecting the nuts and bolts that make Thrones great: its urgent plotting, vivid characterizations, and meticulous world-building.

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Movies Podcast: Here's Why We Love Chris Rock's Top Five

Categories: Film and TV

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Paramount Pictures
Chris Rock in Top Five.
We begin this week's Voice Film Club podcast with a Thomas Pynchon story, before hosts Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice, and Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly, move onto Paul Thomas Anderson's movie adaption of his novel, Inherent Vice. It's "in some ways a godawful mess, indulgent in a way a less-respected director would never be able to get away with. And it's two and a half hours long not because it needs to be, but because it can be," writes Stephanie Zacharek in her review. The middle movie this week is Chris Rock's Top Five, a movie that we love. Skip to 21:20 to hear that segment. The show wraps up with Exodus, starring Christian Bale. "The only way Bale's Moses could be the humblest man alive is if the rest of the planet were killed," writes Nicholson in her review. Do Alan and Stephanie agree?


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