The Playlist

TIFF Review: Paul Haggis' 'Third Person' With Liam Neeson, James Franco & Olivia Wilde Is Ludicrously Awful

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 10, 2013 5:33 PM
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  • 18 Comments
We're coming on a decade since Paul Haggis' "Crash" won Best Picture at the Oscars, and it's still one of the most divisive victories in recent memory. Detractors of the film are quick to point out the flaws in the L.A.-set drama, citing what they perceive to be the film's crass manipulativeness, one-dimensional characters, clumsy hand with racial politics and eye-rolling core of sentimentality. But frankly, you haven't seen anything yet. Haggis' return to the ensemble drama in "Third Person" makes "Crash" look like a work of understated, subtle art. A disastrously and ludicrously awful effort from the writer/director, absolutely nothing works in this facile, cliche-filled and astoundingly dull film that trades in cheap drama and soap opera theatrics.

Watch: New Trailer For TIFF Entry 'Blood Ties' Starring Billy Crudup, Clive Owen, And James Caan

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 6, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Blood Ties
Well, it looks like David O. Russell's "American Hustle" is going to have a run for its money when it comes to sprawling '70s crime sagas that feature really silly hair and mustaches, as the new trailer has just dropped for Guillaume Canet's "Blood Ties," starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, Matthias Schoenaerts, Zoe Saldana, Marion Cotillard and James Caan. The film, which we were iffy about at Cannes, will be screening at the Toronto International Film Festival soon.

Move Over Cypher Raige: 'Jupiter Ascending' Synopsis Reveals Lead Characters Jupiter Jones & Caine

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 15, 2013 11:18 AM
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  • 4 Comments
It seems this year's Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters have found screenwriters just plain tossing out the book of baby names. From Cypher and Kitai Raige in "After Earth" to Raleigh Becket and Stacker Pentecost in "Pacific Rim," it seems a good, sci spectacle requires character names that are so unique, you'll still struggle to remember them. But maybe it's just the genre as a whole as "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is nothing but adventurous names (Plutarch Heavensbee!) while "Ender's Game" will get us closer to people like Mazer Rackham and Dink Meeker.

First Images Of Clive Owen, Mila Kunis, Matthias Schoenaerts & More In Guillaume Canet's 'Blood Ties'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 14, 2013 10:11 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Earlier this year, we had heard that Guillaume Canet's "Blood Ties" was nearing the finish line, and thus we included it on our list of films that may show up at the Cannes Film Festival. And perhaps this is a further indication that when the lineup is unveiled later this week, the French filmmaker's English language effort will be among the titles getting the red carpet treatment.

Review: 'Oz The Great And Powerful' Dresses Up Dull Prequel Story With Special Effects Wizardry

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 1, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 15 Comments
We’re coming up on 75 years since MGM’s Technicolor wonder “The Wizard Of Oz” first enchanted audiences on screen, and at the time it was already the fourth movie based on the works of L. Frank Baum. Of course, it has become not only the best known version, but an American cinema classic and icon, and so the prospect of a prequel is always one that was greeted with some wariness. There’s not only the pressure of living up to a film that has been beloved by generations of filmgoers, but there's also the often undiscussed issue of whether or not adding backstory and additional mythology is simply answering a question no one asked. As studios continue to mine fables, fairy tales and comics for franchises, it’s a query they will continue to grapple with, but as for the results cooked up in Disney and director Sam Raimi’s “Oz The Great And Powerful,” it’s a lot of smoke and light, without much behind it.

Watch: Bubbles & Fireballs In 2 New Clips From 'Oz The Great And Powerful'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 21, 2013 4:19 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Are you ready to go back down the yellow brick road? Sam Raimi's prequel "Oz The Great And Powerful" is on the way, but it's a brand-new story from the magical land, with a new cast of characters having some adventures and trying to ensure that everyone has a happy ending. It's an ambitious project, and two more clips have arrived to tease what you'll encounter in merry old Oz.

Listen To Mariah Carey's Theme To 'Oz The Great & Powerful,' Plus Clips, A Featurette And Spoiler-y Images From The Film

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 19, 2013 1:08 PM
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  • 2 Comments
After the quietish few months of the year, we're only a few weeks out from the first would-be major blockbuster of the year (if you exclude the underperforming "A Good Day To Die Hard," and the noticeably buzz-free "Jack The Giant Slayer"); Sam Raimi's "Oz The Great & Powerful," the first theatrical film to go back to L. Frank Baum's magical land, featured in the beloved "The Wizard Of Oz," since "Return To Oz" in the 1980s.

Watch: New TV Spot For ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’ Plus Super Bowl Teaser & Behind-The-Scenes Pics

  • By Tess Hofmann
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  • January 29, 2013 1:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Much of the mystery surrounding Sam Raimi’s upcoming “Oz The Great and Powerful” seems to have dissipated. With two trailers that pretty clearly delineated the story and provided a generous glimpse at the film’s look, all that’s left is to see the darn thing! But, with over a month to go until the theatrical release, marketing still needs to drum up some more interest, and has apparently resorted to labeling a recycled, condensed trailer as a new “first look.” The new TV spot aired during the SAG Awards, and unless we’re mistaken, there’s nothing here that we didn’t see in the second trailer.

What Did They Do To Mila Kunis? 4 Character Posters For 'Oz The Great And Powerful'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 25, 2013 2:18 PM
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  • 6 Comments
So, in just over a month "Oz The Great And Powerful" will wave a magic wand and drop into theaters, and mostly, Disney is hoping this doesn't "John Carter" on them. But they have a few things that will likely prevent that from happening. First, it's riffing on a beloved movie that everyone has heard of. Next, it features a cast that people know, including James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis. Okay, great. But then why on Earth did they airbrush the hell out of the one cast member who has been named the Sexiest Woman Alive?

Watch: New TV Spot For Sam Raimi's 'Oz The Great & Powerful' With James Franco & Mila Kunis

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 14, 2013 11:20 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Adapting a beloved TV series to the big screen is always a risky prospect, particularly when you start departing from the source material. Be it giving a post-modern meta spin on classics like "Bewitched" or "Starsky & Hutch," or chucking big-budget effects at lo-fi favorites like 'The A-Team" or "Lost In Space," the results are rarely positive, pleasing neither fans or neophytes. We thought we might be on safer ground when we discovered that Sam Raimi was directing a film called "Oz." Surely the brutal prison drama that preempted the golden age of HBO and shows like "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" would make it to the big-screen unscathed, especially in the hands of the director of "The Evil Dead" and "A Simple Plan."

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