Film

Machete rages, Tom Hanks sails, and Romeo and Juliet (spoiler alert!) die in the end: new movies!

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First things first: do not pass go or collect your turkey leg until you've seen Escape From Tomorrow, the shot-secretly-at-Disney sci-fi drama that will, in fact, blow your mind. Dennis Harvey's review here. (Speaking of mind-blowing, have you seen Gravity yet? If not, why are you still reading this? Why aren't you rushing to the theater RIGHT NOW?)

Elsewhere this week: two powerful tales of survival are told in doc The Summit and Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips, which stars Tom Hanks and will make you glad your job doesn't require you to traverse pirate-infested shipping lanes. My reviews of both here.

We've also got the latest exploitation-fan catnip from Robert Rodriguez, Machete Kills, starring Danny Trejo (fantasy role-swap: Danny Trejo as Captain Phillips), a comedy in which Amy Poehler plays Adam Scott's stepmother, a Twilight-informed Shakespeare flick, and more. Read on!

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"You've got to be inside the action:" Paul Greengrass discusses filmmaking and 'Captain Phillips'

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Paul Greengrass' latest action film, Captain Phillips, stars Tom Hanks as an American cargo-ship captain taken hostage by Somali pirates. This based-on-true-events tale also stars newcomer Barkhad Abdi as pirate leader Muse. It opens tomorrow — but today, read on for more intel from my recent interview with Greengrass when he stopped by San Francisco to promote the film.

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Live Shots: Prepping for the Dirtbag Challenge!

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A look behind the scenes of the recently released Dirtbag by Vargas Films, and a sneak peak at the bikes being built for this year's Dirtbag Challenge. Check out the full article on the Challenge, coming up Sun/13, here.Read more »

'Gravity,' Mill Valley, and everything else: new movies

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The 36th Mill Valley Film Festival opened last night and runs through Oct. 13, filling the North Bay's travel-worthy venues (the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center is the main one) with must-see films. Check out our recs here, and read on for short takes on Hollywood's offerings, including the season's must-see sci-fi film. Read more »

TIFF diary #9: this is 'The End'

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Every time I told people that Lav Diaz's Norte, the End of History (Philippines) was my favorite film of this year's Toronto International Film Festival, I would watch their eyes glaze over and their body start shifting as if to say, "Yes ... but what else?" Read more »

TIFF diary #8: Rivers and Russell, 'Blue,' and a likely Oscar contender

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More from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival with Jesse Hawthorne Ficks.

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Estonia/France) is the first collaboration between experimental filmmakers Ben Rivers and Ben Russell — and man oh man, was it music to my eyes. Structured into three segments (comparisons to Kelly Reichardt's 2006 Old Joy are inevitable), this experimental documentary is uniquely personal, to the point of leaving many audience members at a loss for words, for better or worse.

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TIFF diary #7: Southern gothics

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Intrepid filmgoer Jesse Hawthorne Ficks' reports from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival continue this week. Stay tuned for more posts, including Jesse's upcoming list of his top 12 films from the fest!

From director David Gordon Green, gothic Texan tale Joe gives Nicolas Cage a showy role, in the manner of Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call — New Orleans (2009). Luckily Joe turns out to be a rambling bundle of fun,  thanks in no small part to Cage's typically uneven (yet always hypnotic) performance. That said, the film earned some glaringly obvious comparisons to Jeff Nichols' Mud (2012), including the casting of teen actor Tye Sheridan, who plays a similar role in both films.

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Race car drivers, rock stars, witches, flight attendants, and more: choose your Halloween costume from this week's new movies!

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For this week's longer reviews, check out Dennis Harvey's take on the doc Inequality for All, and my chat with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett in honor of the band's new 3D IMAX concert film, Metallica: Through the Never. Read on for short takes galore!

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TIFF diary #6: For music lovers

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Swedish auteur Lukas Moodysson is back and he may have just created one of the most riotous punk rock extravaganzas ever. We Are the Best! (Sweden/Denmark) played to packed houses throughout the entire Toronto International Film Festival, creating an astounding word of mouth buzz.

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TIFF diary #5: Reichardt, Turturro, and Pawlikowski

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The surprise crowd-pleaser of TIFF 2013 was John Turturro's Fading Gigolo (US). Showcasing Woody Allen in a rare acting-only role, this surprisingly romantic tale about a man in his mid-50s (played by writer-director Turturro) is as charmingly hilarious as it is deftly dramatic.

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