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Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012
The biggest pop culture gathering in North America kicks off Wednesday night. How has Comic-Con responded to last year's problems, and what are the most interesting events taking place at this year's show?

Hollywood invaded Comic-Con International (the official name of the San Diego Comic-Con) back around the turn of the 21st century, bringing in movie stars to promote upcoming genre films. But it wasn’t until the opening of the 6,500-seat Hall H in 2004 that the show truly arrived as the center of the pop culture universe. The convention was already in the middle of an attendance explosion, but Hall H and the major movie studios helped drive it to its current overstuffed situation, where 130,000-plus squeeze into the San Diego Convention Center every July.


Comic-Con’s status as the biggest pop culture gathering in North America brought with it a host of problems that it didn’t face when it was merely the biggest comic book show in North America. They’ve had to address things like how to deal with thousands of people trying to get hotel rooms at the same time, how to move tens of thousands of people through the registration process quickly, and where to situate the lines for the various panel rooms without blocking hallways or running into other lines. To the convention’s credit, they’ve worked hard to deal with these issues as they’ve arisen. Usually, they aren’t the sort of things that can be fixed on the fly, so longtime attendees eagerly look forward to the release of the Comic-Con schedule (around two weeks before the show) to see what’s changed for the upcoming convention. And yes, also to plan what awesome stuff we’re going to see at the show.


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Monday, Jul 2, 2012
by Austin Dale
P-Town a fairly isolated village on the very tip of Cape Cod, making it the home of America's easternmost film festival. It's the happiest place on Earth.

Provincetown changes something in you! Ask anyone who has spent a day or two there. It might be the salty air. It may just be the Planter’s Punch, the town’s longtime unofficial drink. Perhaps it was just the fact that the Provincetown International Film Festival, now in its 14th year, is a well-curated, intimate, and refreshing respite from everything else on the festival circuit. P-Town a fairly isolated village on the very tip of Cape Cod, making it the home of America’s easternmost film festival. It’s people are friendly—honestly, I can’t say I met anyone who wasn’t a saint—and respectful of the town’s queer legacy. It’s the happiest place on Earth.


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Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012
by Austin Dale
The festival's line-up is a smattering of this year's most notable queer films, Sundance films, and some classics. Here are some films you should be looking forward to.

I’ll have to take a train, a bus, and a ferry, but I’m very excited to be attending at the Provincetown International Film Festival this year beginning tomorrow.


Secluded at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is home to perhaps the easternmost film festival in America. It’s also a major event for the small resort town, which has been a major hub of American gay culture since the Provincetown Players set up there at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s the home of one of America’s oldest gay bars. Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill wrote some of their best work in P-Town. And John Waters has a home in there. All the queerness begs the question: Why haven’t I ever been to this film festival?


The festival’s line-up is a smattering of this year’s most notable queer films, Sundance films, and some classics. Here are some films you should be looking forward to.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Cannes finishes with up-and-comer Jeff Nichols' Mud and Romanian Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills and we rank the best of Cannes 2012.

The Cannes Competition line-up is traditionally an exclusive gathering of established auteurs or rising young filmmakers who have paid their dues competing in other strands of the fest’s vast official selection. It can therefore take someone like Hong Sang-soo multiple Un Certain Regard selections before he finally gets invited to main competition (as he finally did this year with his very fine In Another Country). Meanwhile, there are directors like Ken Loach, who, once having breached the Competition, get a seemingly free pass to future births, no matter the quality of the submitted work. By these standards, then, one of the more unexpected inclusions in this year’s line-up was Jeff Nichols, a young American director who’s previous CV includes only two films, the under-seen Shotgun Stories and last year’s Critic’s Week winner, Take Shelter. But I certainly don’t begrudge Nichols or his new film, Mud, this opportunity: Based on the excellent Take Shelter alone, a fighting chance at some legitimate Cannes hardware is more than appropriate, even without working his way up the proverbial totem, cutting his teeth multiple times over in less visible line-ups.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
David Cronenberg directs and writes this adaptation of Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis, Koji Wakamatsu's take on Yukio Mishima in 11.25, and the really weak The Taste of Money from Korea's Im Sang-soo.

With so many returns to the filmmaking fold after prolonged absences at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it became easy to overlook the fact that David Cronenberg, one of the higher profile director’s in this year’s Competition, was in a sense returning as well. Returning, not to directing (his last film came out not even one year ago), but to a style of filmmaking that he had worked toward disguising over the last ten years. Over this period, Cronenberg has mainly taken to visualizing other people’s material, generally imbuing both the author’s original text and the screenwriter’s adaptations (Spider, A History of Violence, A Dangerous Method) with his career-long thematic concerns. So while these pictures, all very good to great, feel very much of a piece with Cronenberg’s catalogue, there was an unhinged, stylistic provocation missing—very much intended, but the distance between, say, Crash and A Dangerous Method, is about as extreme an artistic divide in contemporary cinema.


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