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The Playlist

SXSW '12 Review: 'Killer Joe' A Terrific Texan Tale With A Revelatory Matthew McConaughey Turn

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 11, 2012 12:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In recent years, film translations of stage hits haven't been as prevalent as they once were. You might get the occasional "Doubt" or "Rabbit Hole," for instance, but compared to the early days of the talkies, when a large proportion of movies were based on Broadway hits, it's been slim pickings; audiences and critics have learned that most attempts at stage-to-screen translation fail to make the material truly cinematic.

SXSW '12 Review: Director Jay Chandrasekhar's Tentative Sincerity Steps Undermined In Uneven, Sophomoric 'Babymakers'

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • March 11, 2012 12:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If you thought that “Knocked Up” was too mature a take on impending fatherhood, then “Babymakers” just might be the movie for you. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, it follows the comical misadventures of a husband who is reluctant to discover whether or not his sperm is “confused” – and if so, how he’ll handle getting his wife pregnant. Marginally more sophisticated than Chandrasekhar’s efforts with the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, “Babymakers” starts off solidly before getting sidetracked by set pieces that take over the entire narrative – and ultimately reveal how little of one there was in the first place.

SXSW '12 Review: Todd Rohal's Third Feature 'Nature Calls' Is A Dull, Droning Wrong Number

  • By James Rocchi
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  • March 10, 2012 10:37 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Curiously squandering an immensely talented cast, Todd Rohal's "Nature Calls," written when the writer-director lived in Austin, had more humor and humanity and life in its 10-minute post-screening talk here at SXSW than it showed in its previous 98-minute running time. Starring Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville as brothers -- in clear refutation of all we know about genetics -- "Nature Calls" pits Oswalt's dedicated scoutmaster, eager to take his scoutmaster father on one last camping trip, against Knoxville's black sheep son. You can imagine this premise leading to all kinds of hilarity.

SXSW '12 Review: 'Safety Not Guaranteed' A Grounded, Genuine, Oddly Effective Charmer

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • March 10, 2012 9:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Although at this point there are way too many stories about quirky man-children and the women who love them, “Safety Not Guaranteed” is an oddly effective little charmer. A film that harkens back to the magical-realism adventures of the 1980s rather than the twee dollhouse making of the last decade, Colin Trevorrow’s tale of a trio of journalists who investigate a personals ad from an oddball requesting a partner in a time-travel experiment is far more grounded, genuine, and moving than its conceit suggests. At the same time, there’s little that’s especially new or original about “Safety Not Guaranteed,” but it ekes out a victory over so much of its indie-darling competition simply by following through on the ideas it introduces.

Review: Julianne Moore Shines As Sarah Palin In HBO’s ‘Game Change’

  • By The Playlist
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  • March 10, 2012 9:18 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The debate about fair vs one-sided portraits aside -- the narrative of which has dominated the political conversation side of things so far -- "Game Change," Jay Roach's HBO film about Sarah Palin's effect on the 2008 Republican campaign to elect John McCain, is, by and large, an absorbing and entertaining docu-drama-like account of this period in election history. It's also perhaps one of the most effective political cautionary tales to date, an evidential A-Z portrait of what not to do when trying to pick a running mate.

SXSW '12: Joss Whedon Talks Challenges of The 'Avengers,' Potentially Resurrecting Old Horror Epic 'Goners,' And How 'Cabin In The Woods' Came To Be

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 10, 2012 4:03 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Today at South by Southwest, there was a panel with "Cabin in the Woods" director Joss Whedon (the screening the night before brought the house down – Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford were still talking about it today!), wherein the fan favorite writer/director talked about his intentions for the film, why he fled the Hollywood system (for at the very least distanced himself to the point where he's working parallel to it), the state of his big budget horror movie "Goners," the pluses and minuses of working with an inflated budget, and his personal little art film, "The Avengers."

Lea Seydoux Out, Charlotte Le Bon In For Michel Gondry's 'The Foam Of The Days'; Shooting Starts April 16th

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 10, 2012 10:09 AM
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  • 2 Comments
When we caught up with French actress Léa Seydoux at the Berlin Film Festival, we asked about her about Michel Gondry's upcoming "The Foam Of The Days" (also recently called "Mood Indigo") which she had been linked to at the beginning of the year. "The thing is, that I don't really know yet [about that]...I have another project..." she teased, without saying much more. But indeed, it appears that scheduling has forced her out of the film.

Dead Or Alive, You're Coming With Me: 'RoboCop' Reboot Arrives On August 9, 2013

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 10, 2012 9:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments
After years in development, the "RoboCop" franchise is finally booted back up and ready to return. With "Elite Squad" Jose Padilha at the helm and "The Killing" star Joel Kinnaman newly minted as the man in the robot suit, MGM is ready to get this thing rolling, and has pegged a release date for the movie.

SXSW '12 Review: 'God Bless America' A Funny, Insightful & Outrageous Indictment Of Contemporary Culture

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • March 10, 2012 12:01 AM
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  • 5 Comments
At the movies, righteous anger is in painfully short supply these days, but writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait manages to harness all of his (and more than a little bit of ours) in “God Bless America,” a scathingly funny indictment of the vagaries of contemporary U.S. culture. Compiling an encyclopedic list of offenses unleashed upon the world through the entertainment industry, the pretense of political discourse, and the increasing indignities of human interaction, Goldthwait crafts a revenge fantasy that’s smart, specific, and imminently sympathetic, even when its characters retaliate in admittedly extreme or inappropriate ways. Desperate for a time before TMZ without purely succumbing to rose-colored nostalgia, “God Bless America” is a twisted but troublingly accurate chronicle of contemporary inhumanity, viewed through the eyes of a man no longer capable of ironic detachment.

SXSW '12 Review: 'The Cabin In The Woods' Is A Smart, Witty Blast For Genre Fans

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 9, 2012 9:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Almost no genre (bar perhaps the romantic-comedy) revolves around formula as heavily as the horror film. Obviously there are sub-categories: the haunted-house film, the zombie flick, the vampire movie. But a disproportionate amount of the involves a group of horny teens going to a remote location, taking off clothes, making stupid decisions, and getting picked off one by one, whether by a man in a mask, or by some kind of supernatural creature or force. So on hearing the title, and indeed basic premise, of "The Cabin In The Woods," it's hard not to be a little downhearted. Is this the same old cheapo horror flick we've seen dozens, if not hundreds of times?

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