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The Playlist

R.I.P. Oscar-Winner & 'Spider-Man' Star Cliff Robertson (1923-2011)

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 11, 2011 12:47 PM
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Sad news amidst all the film festival nonsense this morning, with the news breaking overnight that Cliff Robertson, the Oscar-winning star of "Charly," who found a new lease of life in recent years after playing Uncle Ben in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy, passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Robertson had a long and varied career, dating back to the 1950s, although thanks to his exposure of a embezzlement scam by Columbia Pictures boss David Begelman in the 1970s, faced brief black-listing from studios.

Michael Shannon Says His General Zod In 'Man of Steel' Will Be Very Different From Terence Stamp's

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 11, 2011 11:53 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Also Says That Crime Film 'The Iceman' & James Franco's 'As I Lay Dying' Aren't Happening Any Time Soon We have to confess, when considering the possibilities as to who might end up playing villain General Zod in Zack Snyder's Superman reboot "Man of Steel," Michael Shannon was never on our list. Not that he's not a fine actor -- he's one of the finest out there right now, one who goes from strength to strength with seemingly every performance. And not that he's resisted studio fare in the past -- indeed, he'll be playing a villain in the Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle "Premium Rush" at the start of next year. It's more that Shannon's particular brand of bug-eyed crazy is so very different from the steely fascism embodied by Terence Stamp in the character's last big-screen appearance in "Superman II."

TIFF '11 Review: 'The Oranges' Delivers A Grove Of Big Laughs

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 11, 2011 11:18 AM
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  • 5 Comments
The indie ensemble comedy genre is fraught with pitfalls, from high concepts that just don't deliver, to outrageous storylines that can't sustain their own frenzied energy. For every "Little Miss Sunshine" there are countless more that attempt to create that film's almost intangible alchemy but falter somewhere along the way. "The Oranges" could have gone either way - with Julian Farino a mostly TV director ("Entourage," "How To Make It In America") making his sophomore film with a grab bag cast including Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat, Adam Brody and Leighton Meeste,r we really had no idea what to expect from the film. But playing to huge laughs, this winning comedy overcomes some of its patchier elements to become a bonafide crowd pleaser.

TIFF '11 Review: Admirable, Low-Key ’50/50’ Splits Difference Between Genuinely Funny And Sad

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 11, 2011 10:46 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Let's get this out of the way early; the cancer dramedy, "50/50," formerly known as "I'm With Cancer," is an admirable effort by all the parties involved. There's maturity and restraint shown throughout in this story, about a healthy young twentysomething man staring his mortality in the face when he is suddenly diagnosed with a rare spinal cancer, and it's a well-intentioned humanistic drama that tries to demonstrate that life is complicated and never quite cut and dry. The measured film takes pains to illustrate there is laughter to be derived in difficult and near-tragic situations and melancholy can also be found in some of the most humorous moments. It's also a friendship movie that is wise enough to not feel like a bromance film. In fact, it feels like it comes from the playbook of master comedians like James L. Brooks, Judd Apatow and Albert Brooks who deftly understand that a little sour in sweetness and vice-versa can go a long, long way.

TIFF '11 Review: Oh The Horror -- Francis Ford Coppola's 'Twixt' Is A Low-Rent Nightmare

  • By Cory Everett
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  • September 11, 2011 10:26 AM
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  • 10 Comments
Francis Ford Coppola has played quite a few roles in his five-decade-long career. He started as a low-budget filmmaker in skin flicks and Roger Corman films before becoming an icon with a hugely impressive run of films that started with "The Godfather" and, arguably, ended with "Apocalypse Now." The director struggled throughout the '80s and '90s, first attempting to bankroll his expensive projects through his American Zoetrope label, then as a director for hire in Hollywood after a run of flops nearly bankrupted him. But instead of continuing to struggle within the studio system he instead opted to go independent again.

Review: Sorry, 'Burke & Hare' Is Simply Not The John Landis Comeback We Were Hoping For

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 11, 2011 10:00 AM
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It seems like nowadays, especially in our gimme-gimme-gimme, now-now-now society of instant, hyperlinked gratification, that when a movie’s release is delayed or postponed, that it takes on a mystical dimension of importance and fascination. This leads to endless speculation about why the film hasn’t made its way to (domestic) theaters yet; what’s the reason behind the hold-up? In the in-between time, a new reputation for the film has already been forged, one based on tenuous material and (possibly) overseas reviews. In the case of John Landis’ “Burke & Hare,” which was released almost a year ago in England, the word was that the film was something of a return to form.

CBS Films In Talks To Buy TIFF Hit 'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen' With Ewan McGregor & Emily Blunt

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 11, 2011 9:30 AM
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It's been a fairly quiet market for big film deals at Toronto so far, with the sole major sale -- that of "Shame" to Fox Searchlight -- having been in the works since Venice, and even then, the film reportedly only sold for a six-figure sum, the film's backers placing great importance on being able to release the film before the end of the year, uncut, with an awards push for star Michael Fassbender. But the slow start looks to be coming to an end, with plenty of films courting distributors, and the first of them looks to have found a suitor.

Tilda Swinton Says She'll Face Off With Bruce Willis In Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 11, 2011 8:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Exclusive: One of the reasons we're more excited for "Moonrise Kingdom" than we have been for any Wes Anderson film in a decade is the cast. While a few of Anderson's usual repertory company -- most notably Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzmann, are returning -- the leads, a twelve-year-old boy and girl, are newcomers (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward), and the supporting cast are made up of some intriguing new names, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Frances McDormand.

Megan Fox Says She Won't Come Between Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann In Judd Apatow's Next Film

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 11, 2011 8:20 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Exclusive: More so than any of his previous films, Judd Apatow's next movie is being kept firmly under wraps. We know that it's a spin-off to "Knocked Up," focusing on Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters from that film, we know that Rudd's character now runs a record label, we know it's being referred to in some circles as "This is Forty," although that's not the official title, and we know that Apatow has assembled a typically salivating supporting cast, with Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham, Melissa McCarthy, Annie Mumulo, Ryan Lee, Wyatt Russell, Robert Smigel, and a few returning alumni of the 2007 comedy, including Jason Segel and Charlyne Yi, although not, it would appear, Seth Rogen.

TIFF '11 Review: Woody Harrelson Stands Tall Amidst Crumbling LAPD In Riveting 'Rampart'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 11, 2011 7:33 AM
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  • 2 Comments
"Everything you learned at the Academy is bullshit." That's the sage bit of wisdom Date Rape Dave (Woody Harrelson, and we'll get to his cop moniker in a moment) gives a new trainee in the opening frames of Oren Moverman's "Rampart," a searing and riveting look at a crooked cop's decay amidst the crumbling LAPD at the turn of the millennium.

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