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Tessa Thompson - Steve Buscemi - Guy Lodge - Voice - ‘The Listener’ Review: Tessa Thompson Speaks to the Sleepless as the Audience Dozes Off - variety.com - USA
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‘The Listener’ Review: Tessa Thompson Speaks to the Sleepless as the Audience Dozes Off
Guy Lodge Film Critic If you found yourself wide awake in the wee small hours with personal demons rattling in your brain, and you picked up the phone to share them with a patient, neutral stranger, Tessa Thompson’s measured, calming voice is more or less exactly what you’d hope to hear on the other end of the line. As Beth, a night-shift volunteer for a crisis helpline, the actor’s naturally gentle, benevolent presence is the chief asset of Steve Buscemi’s minor-key chamber drama “The Listener” — not that she has a host of elements to compete with in what amounts, on screen at least, to a one-woman show.  Thompson’s unforced credibility isn’t shared, however, by a flat, superficial script that treats an assortment of mental health ailments as quirky conversation fuel. Each anguished call that Beth takes, over the course of one long, dark night of assorted souls, is written less like a recognizable human exchange than as an actor’s heightened audition piece, and played out as such by a voice-only ensemble stacked with distractingly recognizable names. Though the global pandemic is only incidentally mentioned, “The Listener” plays in all aspects like a project conceived in the most self-searching and self-indulgent depths of the isolation era. It’s hard to imagine audiences wanting to enter that headspace now.
Guy Lodge - ‘Argentina, 1985’ Review: The Mournful Weight of History Deepens an Old-Fashioned Courtroom Crowdpleaser - variety.com - Argentina - city Santiago
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‘Argentina, 1985’ Review: The Mournful Weight of History Deepens an Old-Fashioned Courtroom Crowdpleaser
Guy Lodge Film Critic Rather like the arc of the moral universe, “Argentina, 1985” is long, but bends toward justice. Effectively dramatizing the country’s landmark Trial of the Juntas, history’s first instance of a civilian justice system convicting a military dictatorship, Santiago Mitre’s broad, sprawling, heart-on-sleeve courtroom saga may draw from the same nightmarish period of history that has informed much of Argentine cinema’s most essential, haunting works — from 1985’s Oscar-winning “The Official Story” to last year’s “Azor” — but eschews any subtle arthouse stylings for a storytelling sensibility as robustly populist as anything by Sorkin or Spielberg. Small wonder, then, that Amazon Studios has boarded a film clearly aiming to be both a domestic smash and an international crossover hit — buoyed by the reliable star power of Ricardo Darín, his signature suaveness tempered by a walrus mustache and boxy ‘80s frames as Julio Strassera, the dogged prosecutor who took on this charged, against-the-odds case. Though a warmly received premiere in competition at Venice will set it on the right path, “Argentina, 1985” is, appropriately enough, a people’s film about people’s justice, balancing tear-jerking historical catharsis with touches of droll domestic comedy, and set to draw crowds on enthusiastic word of mouth.
Darren Aronofsky - Guy Lodge - National Geographic Buys Environmental Docu-Thriller ‘The Territory’ Following Sundance Film Festival Premiere - variety.com - Brazil
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National Geographic Buys Environmental Docu-Thriller ‘The Territory’ Following Sundance Film Festival Premiere
Rebecca Rubin Film and Media ReporterNational Geographic Documentary Films has acquired “The Territory,” a timely look at indigenous-led land defense in the Amazon rainforest, following its premiere at the virtual Sundance Film Festival.The company plans to release “The Territory” theatrically later this year before the film heads to its streaming platforms.Alex Pritz directed “The Territory” in his feature film debut. Using verité-style footage captured over three years, the documentary tells the fight of the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people against rapidly approaching deforestation brought by illegal loggers and nonnative farmers in the Brazilian Amazon.In Variety’s review of “The Territory,” which screened in the world cinema documentary competition, film critic Guy Lodge described the doc as “riveting and despairing in equal measure.” “Dual forces of climate change and cultural genocide overlap to devastating effect in “The Territory,” threatening not just a native community but a wider ecosystem — and cheered on by the actively hostile powers that be,” Lodge wrote.Darren Aronofsky, the Oscar-winning director of “Black Swan,” “The Wrestler” and “Requiem for a Dream,” served as a producer on “The Territory.” The film has been co-produced by the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau community, with activist Txai Suruí on board as an executive producer.
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