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The Playlist

Review: ‘The Last Exorcism Part II’ Is A Cruddy, Boring & Exhausting Horror

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 1, 2013 1:12 PM
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2010’s “The Last Exorcism” was a mildly successful found-footage horror movie about a huckster exorcist (played memorably by hey-it’s-that-guy character actor Patrick Fabian) who accidentally stumbles upon an actual possession while being followed around by an amateur documentary film crew. It was also, at least initially, metaphorically rich, with the demonic activity standing in for domestic abuse and the violence often bred by small-minded, backwoods religious fervor. Of course, all that nuance was jettisoned in the last ten minutes, when the possessed young girl (Ashley Bell) gave birth to what appeared to be a small gremlin or possibly the young version of Hellboy. In the wholly unnecessary “The Last Exorcism Part II,” the young girl has survived the demon-birth (or whatever) and is trying to reacclimate to society. Unfortunately, the sequel follows the original too closely, so that any attempt at substantial dimension is undone in favor of hoary horror movie tropes.

Robin Hood Next In Line For Reimagining With DreamWorks Getting Together 'Merry Men'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 1, 2013 12:50 PM
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Hollywood is gunning for your fables, fairy tales and classic stories. Last night alone, brewing movies "Frankenstein" and "Cinderella" boosted their respective casts with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, and this weekend "Jack The Giant Slayer" hits theaters (our review) followed by "Oz The Great And Powerful" (our review) next Friday. And now Robin Hood is getting dusted off and reimagined, because, obviously.

Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2014 Best Director Nominees

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 1, 2013 12:23 PM
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  • 12 Comments
In recent years, trying to predict the Oscar nominees in the Best Director category has been especially tricky. In the past, you could just translate over your Best Picture nominees, maybe swap one out for a better-known or showier filmmaker, and you were relatively likely to be correct. But ever since the Academy made the switch to having more than five nominees in the top category it's become more unpredictable, especially if you're trying to make your predictions a year in advance.

Review: 'The Brass Teapot' Is More Modest Trinket Than Rare Find

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • March 1, 2013 11:56 AM
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Ramma Mosley's “The Brass Teapot," based on a screenplay by Tim Macy, who wrote the short story and the 2007 short film that served as a jumping-off point for this feature, tries hard to be a moral fable, a reflection of today's challenging economic tides and the college graduates weathering them with limited success. With the help of a talented cast, “The Brass Teapot” is able to coast on charm for the first hour, but then the fairytale idea that powers the film runs out of juice, and the last forty-five minutes hurtle toward a wrap-up that feels both awkward and overwrought, needlessly portentous and arriving much too late. Leads Michael Angarano and especially firecracker Juno Temple are the reason to keep watching, but even they cannot breathe life into a compelling concept stretched too thin.

Chris Rock Will Be 'Finally Famous'

  • By Ken Guidry
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  • March 1, 2013 11:42 AM
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There’s no denying that Chris Rock is one of the most talented stand-up comedians of our time. His career as actor/writer/director, however, is a bit more dubious. His two films, “Head of State” and “I Think I Love My Wife” did not open to much fanfare and have since been largely forgotten. That said, his next project sounds a bit more promising.

Tina Fey Joins Jason Bateman In Dramedy 'This Is Where I Leave You'

  • By Ken Guidry
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  • March 1, 2013 11:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Tina Fey has certainly been keeping herself busy now that “30 Rock” is officially over. She stars in the upcoming rom-com “Admission” with Paul Rudd, her first starring role since 2010’s “Date Night,” and she’s currently filming “Muppets...Again!” sequel alongside Ricky Gervais. And now, she’s entering negotiations to join Jason Bateman in the comedy/drama “This Is Where I Leave You,” an adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Johnathan Tropper, who wrote the script himself.

Review: 'Leviathan' An Otherworldly Peek At A Life At Sea

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 1, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Every sound in “Leviathan” is a shuddering staccato. Every visual wears darkness like a cloak. With absolutely no context, there’s no awareness of what’s up or down. When it is promoted, the ads will suggest “Leviathan” is a documentary, and a scan of the press notes will reveal exactly where the film is set, and what’s taking place onscreen. But those peripheral elements are not the text, they are distraction. The experience of “Leviathan” is wholly singular, without context, enveloping and immersive. In some ways, it might very well be the most terrifying picture of the year.
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Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow & Don Cheadle Pop Up With Robert Downey Jr. In New 'Iron Man 3' Pics

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • March 1, 2013 10:42 AM
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The marketing machine (or should that be the Stark-eting machine?...no? Sorry...) behind “Iron Man 3” is now working at full capacity so expect to be bombarded with little bits and pieces from the Marvel three-quel between now and its April/May release date (and a new trailer next week, fyi). Disney will have high expectations for Shane Black’s take on Tony Stark, and its performance should give us a good gauge of just how much of a boost the $1.5 billion-grossing “The Avengers” will give each of the standalone Marvel movies. With the first two "Iron Man" movies grossing $585 million and $624 million respectively, there’s still the slim possibility that Marvel could have another billion dollar hit on their hands this summer.

Watch: Ben Affleck & Olga Kurylenko Visit Mont Saint-Michel In Clip From 'To The Wonder'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 1, 2013 10:22 AM
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  • 8 Comments
While doing so for any movie always seems like you're taking a moment best experienced in context and distorting it, to try and make clips out of a Terrence Malick film is an especially dicey prospect. His pictures, more than any other, build on cumulative power, so with those caveats in mind, a new snippet from "To The Wonder" lies below.

Recap: 'Parade's End' Brings Dense Miniseries To A Quiet Close In Finale

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 1, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 5 Comments
As my colleagues have written in their recaps of the first four episodes of "Parade's End," there is much to admire in the five-part miniseries. From the dense, multi-threaded and layered script from Tom Stoppard, to the sumptuous direction from Susanna White and a cluster of great performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens, Stephen Graham and Rupert Everett. And at the middle of it all, perhaps one of the most buttoned up leading men we've seen in quite some time on the small screen, Christopher Tietjens. It would almost be laughable at how much his life has taken a downward turn since we met him at the start of the first episode, if it weren't so tragic. As an era fades, so too does a particular way of English, gentlemanly life, and Tietjens will hold on to it until it nearly destroys him. But after seeing nearly every facet of his life crumble and corrupted, you yearn for Christopher -- as his wife Sylvia long has -- to finally submit to some kind of emotion. To break free and reclaim his life. And while he doesn't quite do that in the finale, his victory such as it is, is satisfying in the way the character deserves.

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