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The Playlist

Watch: First Footage From Madonna's Venice Flop 'W.E.'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 3, 2011 2:23 AM
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  • 27 Comments
The fall festival season had its first major league flop as Madonna's sophomore directorial effort "W.E." was roundly crucified and/or dismissed as an opulent folly after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Our own Oliver Lyttelton gave the film an F, saying that "despite a couple of solid performances, the film can’t be redeemed," pointing to a litany of gaffes from clumsy editing and shot blocking to the script itself, which offers very little reason to be providing two parallel storylines that seemingly have little to connect them. Naturally, the failure has grown curiosity about the film, and two clips have now landed online that give a taste of what Madonna delivered to the critics in Italy.
More: Films, W.E.

Venice '11 Review: 'Contagion' Is A Propulsive, Terrifying Picture With A Top-Notch Cast

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 3, 2011 1:46 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Disaster -- an eternally popular obsession of film. Audiences have turned up in droves over the last century or so to watch mankind against their own extinction in the form of meteorites, earthquakes, alien invasions, exploding suns, planetary collisions, and whatever it was that was happening in "The Core." One of the more popular hypotheses is that when the end comes -- and it will -- it'll be not with a bang, but with a whimper. And that's what Steven Soderbergh has examined in "Contagion," his first studio film since 2007's "Ocean's Thirteen," that finds the spread of a deadly bird flu-type virus the source of man's demise.

Telluride '11 Review: George Clooney Riffs On Family, Love, Loss & Death In 'The Descendants'

  • By The Playlist
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  • September 3, 2011 1:37 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Shifting from heartbreak to cathartic laughter and back, sometimes within the same shot, director Alexander Payne and star George Clooney have collaborated on "The Descendants" to give us a very human story about a very flawed man and his very flawed family. Just like his previous pictures, the success of Payne's film rests on whether he can coax a nuanced performance from a strong male lead who is capable of accessing intense vulnerability. In “About Schmidt” (2002) he found what he needed in Jack Nicholson’s Oscar-nominated turn and two years later in “Sideways” (for which he shared the Oscar for Best Screenplay with Jim Taylor) he scored a double whammy with Paul Giamatti and the also Oscar-nominated Thomas Haden Church. For the central male protagonist of “The Descendants,” Payne turned to George Clooney and in the course of the Q&A that followed the screening he insisted that Clooney had provided him with the best acting collaboration of any of his films. Can the performance possibly live up to that? Actually, yes. Clooney takes on the role wholeheartedly and succeeds on pretty much every level.

Telluride Adds Jennifer Garner's 'Butter'

  • By Catherine Scott
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  • September 3, 2011 1:34 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Part of the fun of the prestigious Telluride Film Festival is its secret lineup that's only revealed at the last minute, as only yesterday, did organizers reveal the slate of programming -- less than 24 hours before the event kicked off today. As longtime attendees know, there are usually one or two secret or surprise screenings revealed over the weekend, and THR reports that "Butter," starring Jennifer Garner, will most likely get the open slot on Saturday night at the same time as the George Clooney retrospective, having its world premiere at Telluride instead of Toronto.

'The Corrections' Headed To HBO With Noah Baumbach

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 2, 2011 12:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Anthony Hopkins & Donald Sutherland Eyeing Lead RoleUpdate: THR confirms this report.

Watch: John Hurt Wants To Find The Rotten Apple In Clip From ‘Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy’

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 2, 2011 12:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The wait may be long -- the film has now moved from November to a December release date for those of us stateside -- but our excitement hasn't diminished for “Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy.” So far we've gotten some ace trailers and a handful of pics, but today, Empire has unveiled the first clip from the film and it's impressive.

Review: Derivative & Dumb 'Apollo 18' Never Gets Off The Launchpad

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • September 2, 2011 12:02 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Generally speaking, the biggest problem for found-footage horror movies is creating sufficient reason or motivation for the characters to keep filming even when everything is going wrong. But “Apollo 18” somehow manages to solve that problem while creating a whole host of other ones, not the least of which happen because because filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego decided to set his mash-up of “Paranormal Activity” and “The Fourth Kind” on the moon in 1973. Derivative, dumb, suspenseless and worst of all boring, “Apollo 18” fulfills no expectations except those of the low quality of films released over Labor Day weekend, a notorious dumping ground for studio dreck.

Venice '11 Review: 'Alps' Another Unique & Remarkable Film From Director Yorgos Lanthimos

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 2, 2011 9:45 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Until a couple of years ago, few outside his native Greece were aware of theater director-turned-filmmaker Giorgos Lanthimos. But when his third film, "Dogtooth," came from seemingly nowhere to win the top prize at Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009, it kicked off a process that's deservedly seen the helmer become one of the most closely-watched international filmmakers around. Other than a producing and acting role in the rather-less-good "Attenberg," he's been quietly working away on a follow-up, the pitch-black "Alps," which screened for the press here in Venice tonight. And the good news is, it's just as remarkable as his breakthrough.

Watch: New Trailer For 'Melancholia' Shows Off The Film's Gorgeous Cinematography

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 2, 2011 9:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments
While we weren't quite enraptured with Lars Von Trier's psychological disaster film when we saw it in Cannes, there are a few definite highlights to be enjoyed. Firstly, Kirsten Dunst gives the performance of her career in the film -- her Best Actress win at the festival was well deserved -- and the movie itself is utterly gorgeous, thanks in no small part to cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro. His first effort for Lars Von Trier is simply a knockout and as the opening montage of this latest trailer shows off, there is some tremendous work that will dazzle the eyes.

Martin Starr Says He Met With Judd Apatow, But Character Didn't Fit Into ‘Knocked-Up’ Spin-Off

  • By Edward Davis
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  • September 2, 2011 9:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Actor Says He's Still Plugging Away On Original Script With Comedienne Charlene YiPlaylist contrib Todd Gilchrist recently sat down with "Freaks and Geeks” alum Martin Starr to talk his role in this weekend's indie comedy, “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.” When Starr wasn't discussing his dick, the film (he called it a "a sweet story about friends"), the joys of working with friends and the travails of the film industry, the comedic actor known for roles in "Freaks & Geeks," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Adventureland" and "Party Down" gave us a small taste of what was on the horizon.

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