Willem Dafoe

The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Beyond the Lights,’ ‘The Fisher King’

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We’ve seen some grim weeks for new releases in the half-year or so that this column has run, but never one quite like this — I mean, seriously, try to find a movie you’ve even heard of in this sad bunch. Luckily, the week’s not a total washout, thanks (as usual) to Netflix and Criterion; the former is debuting a gripping documentary, an earnest love story, and one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final films, while the latter gives us a Terry Gilliam classic and a German antiwar film that you probably haven’t seen, but should.
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“It’s Criminal, and My Name’s On It”: Abel Ferrara on His Strauss-Kahn-Inspired ‘Welcome to New York,’ His Battle With Distributors, and ‘Pasolini’

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It’s a little after 7PM in Rome, where a wild-haired Abel Ferrara, clad in black, is seated at his computer, typing away and cursing under his breath. “This is like a nightmare,” he growls. He’s paused our talk via Skype to respond to a few of the many emails that have circulated through his inbox since his battle against distributor IFC began last fall. “Directors defend these films against all of this bullshit,” he says. “That’s part of the job description. You have to protect and defend the film. That’s the director’s gig.” We’ve been discussing the now-edited Welcome to New York — his new film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, involving the attempted rape and sexual assault of former Sofitel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo.
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So Bad It’s Good: Madonna’s ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ the Hilarious ‘Body of Evidence’

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Bad movies are not a simple matter. There are nearly as many categories of terrible movies as there are for great ones: there are films that are insultingly stupid (Batman & Robin), unintentionally funny (Birdemic), unintentionally, painfully unfunny (White Chicks), so bad they’re depressing (Transformers), and so on. But the most rewarding terrible movies are those we know as “so bad they’re good” — entertaining in their sheer incompetence, best braved in numbers, where the ham-fisted dramatics and tin-eared dialogue become fodder for years of random quotes and inside jokes. And in this spirit, Flavorwire brings you this month’s installment of our monthly So Bad It’s Good feature: Madonna’s notorious 1993 S&M-fueled erotic thriller, Body of Evidence.
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We Will All Howl: Antony Hegarty on the State of Transfeminism

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“They announced two weeks ago that in the last 40 years, the number of wild animals has dropped by one-half, and we’re expecting a 50 to 70 percent extinction event of all species by the end of the century,” Antony Hegarty says. “I always think about those stories about the last bird, or the last of a species, when they’re calling out and they don’t have the other animal, the partner that can call back to them. The idea of the disappearing voice is very resonant for me. What hears a solitary voice. What responds to a solitary voice.”
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12 Must-See Movies at This Year’s New York Film Festival

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Tonight, the New York Film Festival kicks off its 52nd (!) edition with the world premiere of David Fincher’s highly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. We’ll have more on that film (and that premiere) in this space tomorrow, but in the meantime, we’ve had the chance to check out several other NYFF selections that are well worth your time over the next two weeks (should you happen to be in the area), or in the months to come as they make their way to your theaters and on-demand platforms.
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Abel Ferrara’s ‘Pasolini’ Doesn’t Solve the Mystery of Its Subject’s Death — But It Doesn’t Have To

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Art’s best and darkest provocateurs have a certain unexpected vulnerability about them. It comes, I think, from their honesty about the human condition — from the risk inherent in standing up and saying, “Yes, I do think it’s as bad as all that,” even if the statement is hidden in poetry or fantasy or metaphor. Even if it means commercial suicide. There’s an earnestness to doing this, and a subtle indictment of the billions of us laboring under illusions (or trying to forget the reality) of how things are. Smarm is a kind of armor; even snark is a way of using humor to defuse horror. Boundary-busting artists from Jean Genet to Lars von Trier to Catherine Breillat to, most recently, Emma Sulkowicz don’t hide behind either. In their bleakness, they lay themselves bare.
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‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’: This Is What a Wes Anderson Action Movie Looks Like

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There is often an element of storytelling in Wes Anderson’s films — The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox are both framed by the novels (one fictional, one real) they’re adapted from, and Suzie’s books in Moonrise Kingdom are like characters themselves. But the act of telling a story has never been as much the focus of his work as it is in his new picture, The Grand Budapest …Read More