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Erica Abeel
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Entries by Erica Abeel

Alex Gibney Takes on Scientology

(3) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 9:03 PM

Alex Gibney is a master documentarian of the American scene and master provocateur. He's made films about Enron, torture practices of the United States, Lance Armstrong, and child abuse in the Catholic church. So when he takes on the hot button topic of Scientology, attention must be paid.

The...

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A Night at Indie Film's Gotham Awards

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 12:44 PM

This year's Gotham Awards, the indie film world's Academy Awards, were marked by a giant jump in etiquette. Unlike last year, the guests at the packed cavernous Cipriani Wall Street refrained from yakking full decibel through the speeches. The manners police must have sent round a memo this year, so...

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A Male Melt-down in the Alps

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 9:08 PM

Force Majeure, which stirred up the troops in Cannes, is a must-see dark comedy from Swedish writer-director Ruben Ostlund about how a cowardly decision in a moment of crisis can be hell on a marriage.

An attractive upscale couple with adorable kids -- straight from an IKEA catalog, it's...

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In the New York Film Fest the Outsize Egos of Artists Rule

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2014 | 6:36 PM

There's sometimes a common theme or recurring character that threads through a film festival. This can be especially striking in a fest as tightly curated as the New York Film Festival. Such convergences usually happen by accident, according to Kent Jones, director of programming at the NYFF.

Often... what...
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Crazy Ladies and Other Images of Women From the New York Film Festival

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 1:19 PM

With the New York Film Festival in full swing, it feels like New York's cultural season has officially launched. Helmed by the amiable Kent Jones in year No. 2 as Director of Programming, the Film Society has put together a stunning lineup of must-see films, ranging from studio biggies, to...

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In Foxcatcher Steve Carell Astounds as a Psycho 1-Percenter

(2) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 12:16 PM

A hallmark of Toronto this year is the large number of high-profile films that carry the tag "based on a true story." The trend may be driven by market calculations and also, possibly, reality TV. Or maybe it's that the world has gotten so weird no fiction can compete with...

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Toronto 2014: The Year of Biopics and the Brit Actor

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 4:06 PM

As Toronto 2014 heads into the home stretch several trends have come into focus. Trend #1. It's not only the year of the actor -- it's the year of the British actor. Witness Tom Hardy's portrayal of a Brookln bartender in "The Drop." The towering turn of Eddie Redmayne in...

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At TIFF 2014 the 'Wow' Is In the Ensemble

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 5:55 PM

So here's the sign of a classy celebrity. You're at the hot-ticket party of the Toronto Film Film Fest - the Sony Pictures Classics dinner in tony Yorkville - always a fest highlight. And this dude extends his hand and says, "Hi, I'm Mark Ruffalo." He presumes nothing and moreover...

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Toronto 2014 Is the Year of the Actor

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 10:34 AM

By Day 3 it's become clear that the Toronto film fest 2014 is above all about the year of the actor, male and female. As I toggle between one theater and the next, I discover yet another film that raises the bar on the art of screen performance. And I...

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Toronto Notebook: In Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas Really 'Gets' Women

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 2:16 PM

Well, the annual Toronto sprocket opera is once more upon us, with its legions of critics who wish they could osmose into three separate beings to view the must-see films all scheduled at the same or overlapping hours. The vibe is more carnavalesque than in past versions of the gargantuan...

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In Fed Up Katie Couric Gets Behind a Film You Can't Afford Not to See

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 12:30 PM

So you think that opting for Lo Fat items at the market and hitting the gym will keep you in fighting form? Fed Up, an essential documentary narrated and executive produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, is here to tell you different. Zumba all you like, but...

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The Sexual Battlefield of Polanski's Venus in Fur

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 12:11 PM

From the starting gate, master filmmaker Roman Polanski has shown a predilection for power plays in claustrophobic situations. His unsettling 1962 debut, Knife in the Water, follows two men locking antlers over a woman set almost entirely within the confines of a small yacht. Carnage, his most recent outing, records...

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Why Aren't Americans Taking to the Streets Over Economic Inequality?

(9) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 4:06 PM

Economic inequality is the leading issue of our time but you'd never know it to judge by a recent screening in New York of the film Inequality for All. Jacob Kornbluth's documentary showcasing Robert Reich (released in 2013 and available on Blu-Ray and DVD) unfurled in the hind quarters of...

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With Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier Delivers Brainy X-Rate Shocker

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 11:36 AM

When Lars von Trier announced a while back in Cannes that he planned to make a film about a nymphomaniac, eyes rolled or appetites were whetted, depending on how one felt about the bad boy auteur of international cinema. The Danish provocateur had previously delivered two films that plumbed the...

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The Gotham Awards Fete Indie Film Amidst an Audience Allergic to Silence

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 12:43 PM

The Gotham Independent Film Awards are nothing if not quirky and unpredictable. In this 23rd iteration -- which took place Monday at Cipriani Wall Street -- 12 Years a Slave went into the show with more noms than any other film -- and got zip. To the surprise of many,...

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From the Hamptons, Six of the Best

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 2:13 PM

With its 21st edition the Hamptons International Film Festival has "finally made it into adulthood," to quote the founders. Indeed, HIFF prospers. It's getting bigger and better, while remaining easy to navigate. Offering a blend of comedies, docs, bios and shorts, HIFF skims off the best from the major fests,...

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Blue Is the Hottest Color, or France Again Pushes the Envelope

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 4:10 PM

It would be a damn pity if Blue is the Warmest Color -- which appeared at The New York Film Festival on Friday at Lincoln Center -- is mainly celebrated for its extended graphic sex scene between two women. The film's centerpiece of sorts lasts by some counts 10 minutes,...

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Are You As Cool as Robert Redford in All Is Lost?

(2) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 2:50 PM

What a gift the 51st New York Film Festival has lavished on the city and movie buffs of all stripes. Credit Kent Jones -- in his debut at the fest's helm -- along with his selection committee with delivering one of the most exciting and provocative lineups in years. Doubtless...

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Art Meets Porn and Other High Points From Toronto

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2013 | 5:34 PM

Stranger by the Lake by Alain Guiraudie.
Before screening at Toronto this film already created a stir at Cannes, a fest not known for its prudery, with its naturalistic portrayal of sex at a male cruising spot along an edenic lake in France. Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), a charming...

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Dickens' Mistress Meets Belle at Toronto 2013

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 5:45 PM

Two things about the Toronto Film Festival. Nobody cares about or notices anything except the films. Obama gets his face saved by Putin, who's making nice to the world and acting like a grownup; Nadal wins the Open; the Jersey shore takes it on the chin again -- No one...

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