The Playlist

Preview: Stephen Merchant's Uneven, Unfunny HBO Comedy 'Hello Ladies'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 28, 2013 4:36 PM
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  • 10 Comments
After working together as writers, producers and stars of TV hits "The Office," "Extras," the underrated "Life's Too Short" and "An Idiot Abroad," the undeniably, comedically potent duo of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant has decided to split up for their latest TV ventures. Earlier this month, Netflix debuted "Derek," the latest from Gervais, while this weekend comes "Hello Ladies," produced, written, directed and starring Merchant, with assists in all departments from Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (who helped make the U.S. port of "The Office" a success). Yet, despite a track record of success and the necessary ingredients for another hit, "Hello Ladies" is a surprisingly and disappointingly uneven effort, completely absent of the craft and precision of Merchant's previous efforts.

NYFF: Tom Hanks & Paul Greengrass Talk Dramatizing Desperate Real-Life Events In 'Captain Phillips'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 28, 2013 2:12 PM
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Captain Phillips
Paul Greengrass’ harrowing, real-time thriller, “Captain Phillps” just screened at the New York Film Festival yesterday. Just go and hit Twitter and you’re going to see plaudits, raves and yes, even lots of Oscar talk. It’s a terrific piece of filmmaking that's intense, grueling, deeply immersive and even takes pains to humanize the complex lives of its villains (you can read yours truly’s A-grade review right here).

Review: Sam Shepard Documentary 'Shepard & Dark' A Fascinating Look At Male Friendship

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 28, 2013 2:02 PM
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The thorny dynamics of heterosexual male friendship is a fascinating black hole that few narrative films ever bother looking into. Instead, most choose to focus on simplistic, superficial social maneuvering (or the all-important bromance) without ever investigating the knotty emotional undercurrents that course through every lengthy male friendship. One of the chief pleasures of “Shepard & Dark,” which concerns the relationship between Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard and his buddy Johnny Dark, who now runs a deli counter at a New Mexico supermarket, is that you get to see all the wonderful, horrible, emotionally raw components that go into male friendship and how those can go from being solid building blocks to puddles of muck.

Watch: New Trailer For TIFF People's Choice Award Runner-Up 'Philomena' Starring Judi Dench & Steve Coogan

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 28, 2013 11:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" won the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award, we were slightly surprised—given that the prize generally tends to lean toward more crowd-pleasing movies—but we weren't surprised to see Stephen Frears' "Philomena" take one of the runner-up slots. The film has been warmly received at Venice, Telluride and Toronto, and now it's headed to theaters, where The Weinstein Company are surely hoping it can turn out some hardware for them during the awards season.

Someone From 'The Hunger Games' Has A Cameo In 'Dumb And Dumber To'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2013 7:12 PM
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  • 9 Comments
So, people are actually excited by this, I suppose? The Farrellys, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have reunited and are shooting "Dumber And Dumber To" and ha ha funny title, because it's spelled wrong and is not a number. First look set images have flown around the interwebs this past week, sparking nostalgia in the hearts of those who remember the 1994 original, while anyone twenty and under wondered who those two weirdos were with the bad haircuts. And it seems even Oscar winners are getting in on the action.

Watch: Video For Pusha T's "King Push" Produced By Joaquin Phoenix & Kanye West

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2013 6:52 PM
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  • 2 Comments
We're called The Playlist, so we try to be hip to what the kids are listening to, and while we have no idea where Pusha T stands on the pop culture index, we're stoked for his forthcoming solo record My Name Is My Name. And to get your weekend started right, a new jam from the album has dropped and not only is it badass, it's co-produced Joaquin Phoenix.

"What's The Magical Negro" Narrative Convention? Watch The First 2 Clips From Diablo Cody's 'Paradise'

  • By Edward Davis
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  • September 27, 2013 5:26 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Paradise, Diablo Cody, Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand, Julianne Hough
"Young Adult" rules, the wry '80s teen horror homage "Jennifer's Body" would have fared far better with another director, and "Juno"—regardless of what you think of that film and its pop-culture referencing protagonist—has become an indie film classic (haters, let us remind you it won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Lead Actress). So with screenwriter Diablo Cody making her directorial debut, "Paradise," it's time to get excited, right?

Mister Rogers Heads To The Big Screen In 'I'm Proud of You' From ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ Directors

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2013 4:47 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If the beloved Fred Rogers has to come to the big screen, even if just tangentially, then we're glad that "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are the ones to make it happen. The duo have shown ability to deliver widely appealing movies (such as the underrated "Ruby Sparks") that are also sensitively drawn, and this material certainly seems like a good fit.

Review: Cannibal Tale ‘We Are What We Are’ A Horror Remake Done Right

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • September 27, 2013 4:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments
“When I saw his movie,” said director Jim Mickle at Cannes earlier this year, in his opening thank you to Jorge Michel Grau, the director of “Somos Lo Que Hay,” “I was jealous of everything: the idea, the plot, the style, and jealous that it was playing at Cannes in Director’s Week.” And so Mickle went about securing the rights to remake the hit Mexican film, co-opting the idea, the plot and elements of the style for his English-language “We Are What We Are," co-written with frequent collaborator Nick Damici, which also landed in the Cannes Directors' Fortnight earlier this year.

Alfonso Cuarón Says He Has A Dream Movie He Wants To Make, But It's "Tiny And Not Commercial"

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2013 3:54 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Gravity, Cuaron
Four years in the making, requiring an technical precise shoot and a lengthy post-production process, the road to "Gravity" has been long enough that director Alfonso Cuarón has stated he'll never do something like it again. And with the film finally finished, playing Venice and Toronto and continuing on the festival circuit, Cuarón is likely simply enjoying a moment of rest before he considers what he'll do next. And for many filmmakers, the choice comes down to doing something artistically challenging, yet realistic and pragmatic, particularly in a studio atmosphere where risks—like "Gravity"—aren't taken very often. And Cuarón is well aware of that fact.

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