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The Playlist

Review: Unexceptional And Thoroughly Decent 'In Secret' Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac & Jessica Lange

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 18, 2014 7:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
In Secret
What a tangled web we weave when with heaving bosoms and pained looks of longing we deceive, and Charlie Stratton's adaptation of author Emile Zola's "Therese Raquin" certainly features many scenes of both of those. It's a story that's been brought forth in a number of TV productions and most notably on the big screen in Marcel Carné's 1952 effort, and while this latest attempt at the material doesn't do anything strikingly radical, it does allow the lead trio of Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Lange take thoroughly decent, if unexceptional, material and make it more compelling and dramatic than it has any right to be.

Jessica Lange Bets On ‘The Gambler,’ Alicia Vikander Replaces Saorise Ronan In 'Testament Of Youth' & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 23, 2013 12:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Alicia Vikander
With Santa Claus just hours away from leaving presents under the tree around the world, a handful of actors and actresses got some gifts early from their agents in Hollywood...

Recap: Things Slow Down A Bit For 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 7, 'The Dead'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 21, 2013 1:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Over the past few weeks, "American Horror Story: Coven" has piled on the craziness, to the point that the show occasionally felt overwhelming, like a giant toppling tower of racist, flesh-eating zombies that are also possessed and on fire. Mercifully, this week's episode, "The Dead," written by co-creator Brad Falchuk, gave us time to pause and catch our breath a little bit before the next round of blood-drenched mayhem.

Recap: Danny Huston's Axeman Visits 'American Horror Story: Coven,' As More Secrets Are Revealed

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 14, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments
If last week's episode of "American Horror Story: Coven" proved one thing, it's that the tensions between the coven of New Orleans witches and the more soulful practitioners of voodoo are reaching the proverbial boiling point, you know, like in a cauldron. Vengeance was taken for the acid attack on Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) and a small army of zombies (a platoon?) was unleashed on Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies courtesie of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), an act that resulted in much "Evil Dead" referencing and the potential reveal of our next Supreme, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga). This week's episode, "The Axeman Cometh," deals with the fallout from those events and, in "American Horror Story" terms at least, was altogether quieter. It also showed that the male characters could be just as slippery and evil as the witches.

Recap: Things Get Hot In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 5, "Burn, Witch. Burn!"

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 7, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
One of the greatest, gore-soaked magic tricks of "American Horror Story" is the way that creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have so many balls in the air, that even when some mysteries or scenarios are put to bed, ten more spring up. It's like the nighttime soap opera horror equivalent of a hydra; cut one head off and three appear. This was certainly the case with the fifth fiery episode of "American Horror Story: Coven," "Burn, Witch. Burn!," in which mysteries were seemingly laid to rest while others gleefully popped up in their place. To quote the great American poet Nelly: it's getting hot in here.

Recap: Witches Get Suspicious In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Halloween Episode 'Fearful Pranks Ensue'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 31, 2013 4:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment
There are some television shows (among them "Roseanne," "The Simpsons" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") that make a very big deal out of their Halloween episode. Just as the holiday celebrates slipping out of your skin and into someone else's, these episodes often break from the formula of the rest of the series, offering a wildly divergent path into some very strange waters. With "American Horror Story," since the entire series plays a post-trick-or-treating fever dream, the Halloween episodes are an even more heightened homage to the things that go bump in the night, where the entire country takes on the show's eerie glow. They are also widely considered to be some of the series' very best episodes. The third season's Halloween offering is no different.

Recap: Mother/Daughter Relationships Get Complicated In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 'The Replacements'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 24, 2013 6:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
American Horror Story
Many of the critics of "American Horror Story: Coven" claim that its rococo stylization is both unnecessary and over-the-top. Tonight's episode, "The Replacements," certainly won't silence those critics, although it might prove that, at the very least, when the show's runaway outrageousness is corralled by someone like director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, it can be both purposeful on a narrative level and powerful on an emotional one. This was, after all, an hour of the show when a teenage girl masturbated in front of a cow-headed monster. What's more shocking than the moment itself was that it turned out to be the emotional center of the entire hour. Now that's messed up.

Jessica Lange Talks Retirement, Says She'll Only Do One More Season Of 'American Horror Story'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 23, 2013 10:29 AM
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  • 3 Comments
With two Oscars, two Emmys, five Golden Globes and countless other accolades crowding her mantle, it's safe to say that there isn't much left that veteran Jessica Lange has to conquer. And while most actresses her age would kill to have the kind of exposure and acclaim she's received thanks to her meaty role in the FX series "American Horror Story," for Lange it seems it's just one stop on a gradual slowdown, with retirement looming not to far on the horizon.

Brie Larson Bets On 'The Gambler' With Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange Eyed As Well

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 17, 2013 5:17 PM
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  • 2 Comments
It finally looks like Brie Larson's time has arrived. The actress has wasted little time in capitalizing on the acclaim of her stint in "The United States Of Tara," lining up small roles in films by Noah Baumbach ("Greenberg"), Edgar Wright ("Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World") and Oren Moverman ("Rampart"). And this year, she leapt to leading lady status with a terrific turn in the tender "Short Term 12" which put her on even more radars. And while we were glad to see her in "Don Jon," it's almost criminal to cast someone of her talent in a movie and then keep her mute for most of the picture. But she won't have to worry about that with her next venture, in what is her biggest role to date.

Recap: Things Get Witchy In First Episode Of 'American Horror Story: Coven'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 10, 2013 11:01 AM
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  • 8 Comments
One of the things that has made the entire "American Horror Story" enterprise so exciting has been the promise of seemingly endless variety. Not only is each season in the spook-filled series a different beast altogether (supposedly one of the ways that co-creator Ryan Murphy got the series greenlit was his pitch to FX that promised at the conclusion of the first season's haunted house arc, "the house wins"), but each moment can play like its own self-contained genre exercise.

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