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Podcast: Alix Lambert Interviews Westworld Stunt Coordinator Mike Watson

Mike Watson photographed by Alix Lambert Mike Watson photographed by Alix Lambert

In one of our occasional Filmmaker podcasts, director, artist and writer Alix Lambert interviews here stunt coordinator Mike Watson, whose work can be seen on HBO’s Westworld, which has its season finale tomorrow night. In addition to Westworld, Watson’s over 70 credits include films like Django Unchained, Hail Caesar!, Lost Highway, Rambo 3 and Silverardo. He was also the stunt coordinator for HBO’s Deadworld, which Lambert wrote for, and for the network’s subsequent David Milch series, John from Cincinnati, on which Lambert was an associate producer. In this wide-ranging conversation, the two discuss Watson’s background, what makes a good fight scene, and much more. Here’s Lambert’s introduction to their conversation: Mike Watson has choreographed some of the most compelling on-screen…  Read more

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“There is a Certain Freedom to Being an Outsider”: Garrett Zevgetis on Best and Most Beautiful Things

Best and Most Beautiful Things Best and Most Beautiful Things

Boston-based filmmaker Garrett Zevgetis’s SXSW-premiering Best and Most Beautiful Things (its title a nod to Helen Keller’s words) is a cinematic portrait of a young woman in Bangor, Maine, a recent high school graduate who is searching for a job to suit her skills. An anime devotee whose rebel fashion sense seems to be influenced by her vast Werecat Sisters doll collection, Michelle Smith also happens to be legally blind and has Asperger’s syndrome. As the doc progresses, though, disabilities fade into the background, upstaged by Michelle’s determination to assert her individuality (including exploring BDSM) and live her life on her own terms. In other words, just like every other 20-year-old emerging into autonomous adulthood. Indeed, the small moments in…  Read more

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Writer Director Sophia Takal on Persona, Female Aggression and Her Psychological Thiller, Always Shine

MacKenzie Davis and Caitlin Fitzgerald in Always Shine MacKenzie Davis and Caitlin Fitzgerald in Always Shine

Following its New York premiere this past Thanksgiving weekend, Sophia Takal’s highly recommended psychological drama Always Shine opens today in 16 markets across the United States. When the film premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I wrote Sophia Takal makes her long-awaited to follow-up to her microbudget stunner Green with Always Shine, which takes the abstracted psychological thriller aspects of her debut and warps them into, well, a crafty, intelligent and altogether satisfying psychological thriller. It’s Persona meets Mulholland Drive meets Single White Female as a weekend getaway between two old actress friends goes horribly awry. Caitlin Fitzgerald is the demure starlet who is suddenly successful after a string of love object roles while Mackenzie Davis is her friend,…  Read more

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One-Eyed Jacks and Dreams: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Picks for Friday, December 2, 2016

One-Eyed Jacks One-Eyed Jacks

One of the major film restoration events of 2016 was Universal’s digital overhaul of Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks (1961), an important bridge between the classical Westerns of John Ford and the genre-busting revisionism of Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone, not to mention Arthur Penn, who would work with Brando on another great iconoclastic Western, The Missouri Breaks, around 15 years later. Like The Missouri Breaks, One-Eyed Jacks is an unruly passion project filled with idiosyncratic touches and auteurist preoccupations. Yet since Brando never directed another movie before or after, the motifs connect not to his other work behind the camera but to the subtext of his many roles as an actor. His vengeful cowboy Rio, who escapes from prison to…  Read more

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Sundance Film Festival Announces the 2017 New Frontier Slate

World Without End (No Reported Incidents) World Without End (No Reported Incidents)

On the heels of yesterday’s announcement of the competition and NEXT slates, today Sundance has unveiled its New Frontier slate. Now in its 10th year, the section is devoted primarily to AR, VR and a variety of installations. Highlights from this announcement include new films from Travis Wilkerson and Jem Cohen, a performance by Terence Nash, plus the latest from VR veteran Nonny de la Peña and a new VR project from Rose Troche. FILMS AND PERFORMANCE 18 Black Girls / Boys Ages 1-18 Who Have Arrived at the Singularity and Are Thus Spiritual Machines: $X in an Edition of $97 Quadrillion / U.S.A. (Director and writer: Terence Nance) — In this pair of performances, the artist Googles the phrase “one-year-old black…  Read more

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Examined Life: Mia Hansen-Løve on Things to Come

Isabelle Huppert in Things to Come (Photo by Ludovic Bergery) Isabelle Huppert in Things to Come (Photo by Ludovic Bergery)

There are only a few minutes of calm at the beginning of Mia Hansen-Løve’s fifth feature Things to Come. In a prologue two years before the film’s narrative kicks off, philosophy professor Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is on seaside vacation with longtime partner Heinz (André Marcon) and children, a stroll reminiscent of the family outing that kicks off her sophomore film, 2009’s The Father of My Children. In both films, this stroll prefigures much strife to come: shortly after Things’ opening, Nathalie — already frayed by the demands of looking after her elderly mother (Edith Scob) — finds out Heinz is leaving her, after 25 years, for another woman. More trouble follows: at university, classes are disrupted by protests. When Nathalie…  Read more

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“The Military System and a Movie Set are Similar”: Rachel Lang on Baden Baden

Rachel Lang Rachel Lang

Described as the most daring section of the Berlinale, Forum aims to straddle art and cinema. Launched in the late ’60s to diversify the festival, Forum still showcases perhaps the most progressive and experimental films of the 400 total that are slated in Berlin’s beast of a festival. There were 44 titles selected for Berlinale’s Forum program this year, and of the 34 world premieres and 9 international premieres, several played at Berlin’s arthouse Arsenal cinema in the festival’s wake. Though this year’s program was focused on the Arab region, Forum is known for its dissidence and commitment to presenting unpredictable and unconventional lineups. This year, the slate also included Baden Baden, a lighthearted Franco-Belgian co-production that recently opened in New York at the Anthology Film Archives.…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre sa Vie Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre sa Vie

“Suddenly the World’s Wider, More Exciting, More Engaging”: Criterion’s Peter Becker on the New FilmStruck and Criterion Channel Streaming Service

For film lovers of all stripes, the launch this month of FilmStruck, a new streaming service partnership between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Channel, is nothing short of a major event. As Netflix tilts more and more towards television and original programming, and actual…  Read more

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Nov 15, 2016

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