The Playlist

Sundance Review: 'Black Rock' A Back-To-The-Wilds Slasher With Brains & Bonding Along With The Blood

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 24, 2012 6:42 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There is, ultimately, something to be said for the pleasures of a simple, sleek and well-shot run-or-kill-or-die thriller where our heroes, trapped in the middle of nowhere and confronted by hostile locals, strike back to survive. And that, at heart, is what "Black Rock," the second directorial effort from Katie Aselton is, no more, no less. If you're hoping for a transcendent reinvention of the form, keep moving. If you're looking for a film like Aselton's erotic, neurotic and superbly acted "The Freebie," pass along. If you're looking for a well-executed example of a sub-genre, not as good as "Deliverance," but far better than a host of similarly-constructed films with bigger budgets and smaller IQs, you'll probably appreciate what "Black Rock" offers with its Y-chromosome inflected plot and script.

The Amazing Race: My Super Last Minute Oscar Predictions

  • By The Playlist
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  • January 23, 2012 11:15 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Lord knows why I'm doing this last minute. Maybe just to get it on the record so I can either be totally embarrassed or elated in the morning, regardless, while I've been thinking about this for some time, I just haven't had the time to sit down and actually write out my Oscar predictions.

Sundance Exclusive: Spike Lee Says 'Brooklyn Loves MJ' Might Be His Next Film; Trio Of Biopics, Including James Brown Film, Might Be Dead

  • By The Playlist
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  • January 23, 2012 9:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The talk of the slopes, cold huddled buses and inebriated parties so far at Sundance 2012 has arguably been Spike Lee’s latest film, “Red Hook Summer” (read our review here). Evidently a polarizing film (some seem to love it, some hate it; our reviewer dug it), it’s nonetheless lit up the town with passionately divided yay or nay conversations and good films should always provoke at least some discussion.

Sundance Review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Aaron Paul Hit the Bottle, And It Hits Back, In Strong, Stirring 'Smashed'

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 23, 2012 8:15 PM
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  • 2 Comments
There is a sub-canon of films about alcohol as deep and as dark as a barrel of bourbon, from "Lost Weekend" to "Days of Wine and Roses" to "Trees Lounge." "Smashed," premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, casts Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Charlie and Kate, a married couple in L.A. whose love is strong, full and, more to the point, well-saturated. Charlie and Kate like to drink, and it shows; Kate's mortified to have a hung-over vomiting fit while teaching, apologizing to her 1st graders and answering, falsely, yes when her kids ask if she's pregnant. When Kate is busted by her vice-Principal Mr. Davies (Nick Offerman, in a performance that in a just world would be an Oscar contender), she confesses her lies and he simply notes "That's … not good."

'The Artist' & 'The Adventures Of Tintin' Win At The PGA Awards

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2012 7:39 PM
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  • 1 Comment
So did everyone forget about this or was it the folly of having an awards presentation on the biggest weekend of the Sundance Film Festival? Or was it just us? And where was the usually email happy The Weinstein Company on this? Guess everyone is busy in Park City (including us).

Sundance Review: So Yong Kim’s Stark 'For Ellen' Experiment Is A Grinding & Exhaustive Experience

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • January 23, 2012 7:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
"For Ellen," Korean-American writer/director So Yong Kim’s third film after breakout indie dramas "In Between Days" and "Treeless Mountain," is shot in the same style of her preceding films. The way she films long uninterrupted takes of Joby (Paul Dano), a self-absorbed young rocker, absent father and "For Ellen" lead protagonist, is fascinating, albeit more in theory than in practice. By making us experience the weight of dead air surrounding virtually every beat in Joby’s dialogue, we grow to feel trapped with him through a series of self-inflicted travails and cascading bleak moments.

Sundance: 'Hello I Must Be Going' Director Todd Louiso On Working With Melanie Lynskey, Quitting Acting & The Influence Of Judd Apatow

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 23, 2012 6:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment
One of the better underdog stories from this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Hello I Must Be Going," from filmmaker (and sometime actor) Todd Louiso. After making 2009's "The Marc Pease Experience" for Paramount Vantage, the director found his movie marooned after the dismantling of the studio, appearing on a handful of screens before going (virtually) straight-to-DVD. This was a rather inglorious follow-up for the filmmaker, who had previously made the critically lauded Philip Seymour Hoffman vehicle "Love Liza." "Hello I Must Be Going" is not only a comeback for the director, but also a coup for its star, Melanie Lynskey, who is finally awarded her first starring role after her splashy debut in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" with a role in a challenging, layered film. The story centers on Amy, a divorced and down-on-her-luck 35 year-old woman who is forced to move back in with her parents, and winds up in an unconventional relationship with a teenage boy. We spoke to the director about what it was like working with his wife on the film's script, his return to Sundance, the influence of Judd Apatow, and toll "The Marc Pease Experience" experience took on him.

Jim Jarmusch Producing Erotic Dramedy 'Panarea' Starring Mark Webber & Chloe Sevigny

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2012 5:51 PM
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  • 0 Comments
While we'll have to wait patiently for the pieces to come together on Jim Jarmusch's awesome vampire flick that at one time had Michael Fassbender, Mia Wasikowska and Tilda Swinton set to star, it looks like the director isn't sitting idle. Jarmusch has become closely aligned with Mark Webber, producing his directorial debut "Explicit Ills" and casting him in "Broken Flowers." We caught up with Webber at the Sundance Film Festival where he's unspooling his latest effort behind the camera "The End Of Love" (check out our review here) and when we asked about what he might direct next, he instead revealed he's once again going to be working with Jarmusch on an intriguing new project.

Miles Teller To Star While Anna Kendrick, Bryan Cranston, Jesse Eisenberg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & More Sought To 'Get A Job'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2012 4:38 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Besides the total omnipresence of Jessica Chastain, among the many things the cinematic year of 2011 will be remembered for, is the return of some long absent film directors. After years in the wilderness, cinephiles were finally treated to new feature films from Alexander Payne, Lynne Ramsay and Whit Stillman. And now heading into 2012, another filmmaker, perhaps not as famous, is looking to get back behind the camera.

Producer Scott Rudin Picks Up Doc 'Indie Game: The Movie' For HBO Comedy Series

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2012 3:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
After making "The Social Network," the story of a bunch of nerds creating Facebook, into an unlikely box office and awards season hit, producer Scott Rudin seems to hope he can take that same formula to the small screen.

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