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The Playlist

Recap: 'The Leftovers,' Season 1, Episode 8 'Cairo'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 17, 2014 11:00 PM
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  • 7 Comments
The Leftovers
Purpose. It's the word that's becoming something of importance to the characters of "The Leftovers." In last week's "Solace For Tired Feet," Kevin Garvey's (Justin Theroux) father tried desperately, in his own unhinged way, to lift the veil from his son's eyes, to get him to see the true reality of what's going on around them. But delivered within a package of crazy, Kevin either refused or simply couldn't see what his father tried to put in front him. And in this week's "Cairo" he's once again brought to the edge of understanding, with that word "purpose" reappearing, almost like a weapon, before the situation spins out of control, with even more left for Kevin to puzzle over and figure out.

Review: Buzzy Sundance Fossil-Hunting Documentary 'Dinosaur 13'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 15, 2014 10:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Ever since a name as such was coined in the early 19th century, dinosaurs have been a source of fascination. The idea of huge, monstrous creatures that ruled the planet in a time before man, remaining in the present day only in skeletal fossils, have captured the imaginations of children and adults for over two hundred years. Those remains are the star attractions in museums all over the world, and have inspired stories from "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" to next year's "Jurassic World," a sequel to one-time top-grossing film in history, "Jurassic Park."

Review: WWII Drama 'Fort McCoy' Starring Eric Stoltz, Camryn Manheim, Seymour Cassel And More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 14, 2014 7:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
WWII continues to be rich dramatic territory for filmmakers for a number of reasons, not only because it's one of the most important events in modern history, but also due to the many avenues from which a global conflagration can be viewed. But writer and co-director Kate Connor's debut feature "Fort McCoy" is an example of what happens when you try to shoehorn as many topics and themes from WWII as you can into one movie. Overstuffed, trite and empty, "Fort McCoy" attempts to mix heavy drama, slapstick comedy and romance in the unwieldy package of a coming of age story set in the summer of 1944. The film flounders on all fronts, proffering a naive and simplistic view of the murky territory between good and evil.

Review: Zombie Tale 'Life After Beth' Starring Aubrey Plaza And Dane DeHaan Lacks Bite

  • By Cory Everett
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  • August 14, 2014 6:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Life After Beth
In the last decade, left-of-center,"quirky" zombies have become so ubiquitous so as to reach critical mass. Just as many spoofs reach theaters as straight-ahead horror renditions. As with anything reaching its cultural saturation point, it’s the singer, not the song, and the results have been all over the spectrum, from the brilliant (“Shaun of the Dead”) to the forgettable (“Warm Bodies”). Despite significant talent both behind and in front of the camera, “Life After Beth” has trouble distinguishing itself. The film starts promisingly, opening with a foreboding shot of a girl wandering through Griffith Park, scored with ominous guitar squalls courtesy of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who composed the film’s score, setting the tone for a film much weirder and more interesting than the one that follows.

Review: 'The Expendables 3' Starring Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes And Antonio Banderas

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 14, 2014 9:05 AM
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  • 6 Comments
The Expendables 3
The conceit behind the Sylvester Stallone-led "The Expendables" franchise has thus far been niftier than the resulting movies: take a bunch of iconic, past-their-prime action stars from the eighties heyday of macho filmmaking, put them together, lob some old age jokes their way, add excessive gunplay and heat well. All the elements for a good time are there, but the first two movies in the franchise sagged and swayed, faltering under sloppy direction, limp scripts and a staggering lack of style. Thankfully, notes have been taken, problems have been addressed, and "The Expendables 3," while far from an ironclad masterpiece, is probably as enjoyable as this genre can get.

Review: Terrific And Sublime 'Frank' Starring Michael Fassbender

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 13, 2014 5:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Frank, Fassbender
Are some so-called "diamonds in the rough" so special they can only exist on the fringes? When a rare species enters the ecosystem of the mainstream, does its unique needs break down in a polluted environment? These are some of the ideas expressed in “Frank,” an off-the-wall and terrific paean to misfits and freaks, their dreams and visions.

Interview: Aubrey Plaza, Matthew Gray Gubler & More on Zombie Comedy 'Life After Beth'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • August 13, 2014 4:23 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Life After Beth, Aubrey Plaza
Sometimes the chemistry on a set works just perfectly, and you can just tell the cast had a ball making the movie. Such is the case with “Life After Beth,” Jeff Baena’s directorial debut, which premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival. The zombie comedy has a lively cast led by Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan, with comic talents Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Matthew Gray Gubler, Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser offering zany support.

Review: 'The Giver' Starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Taylor Swift And More

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • August 13, 2014 3:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The Giver
It wouldn't be surprising if the current spate of Young Adult film adaptations is met with a degree of resentment by movie-lovers over 18 years old. When the films turn out to be entertaining and worthy of their respective source material (like the “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” franchises), some adults surely wish they could watch with the carefree sensibilities of a fifteen year old.

Review: Disney's New Animated Short 'Feast'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 13, 2014 11:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments
To paraphrase Mark Twain for a moment, the reports of the death of two-dimensional animation have been greatly exaggerated. And nowhere is this more true than in the vaunted halls of Walt Disney Animation Studio. Even though the studio hasn't put out a traditional animated feature film since 2011's underrated "Winnie the Pooh," no one should conclude its turned its back on the format. If anything, Disney has buckled down on how to merge traditional story-telling tropes with audience-friendly, cutting-edge technology. The studio is using its short film program as an incubator for these ideas —the latest of which is the heart-tugging treasure "Feast," which is scheduled to play before "Big Hero 6" in theaters this fall.

Review: 'Let's Be Cops' Starring Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Nina Dobrev & Andy Garcia

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 13, 2014 9:05 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Let's Be Cops
From the title alone, "Let's Be Cops" makes it clear its ambitious are slight, with the comedy not asking much of the audience except to sit back and let the premise of two guys pretending to be police officers go wild. But any goodwill will likely depend on how much they can tolerate a production this lazy. Not resembling a movie as much as a series of loosely connected skits that eventually cohere into something resembling a motion picture, filled with a handful of odd continuity issues, dangling plot threads, and most importantly, the problem of being deeply unfunny, 'Let's Be Cops' is a fine example of what happens when filmmakers rely too heavily on the potential chemistry of the cast, rather than giving actors something decent on the page to work with.

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