The Playlist

TIFF Review: 'Berberian Sound Studio' Is An Unnerving, Original Psychological Horror Anchored By The Great Toby Jones

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 10, 2012 9:00 AM
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People love movies about the making of movies. Well, that's perhaps an exaggeration -- general audiences have a history of some apathy towards the genre. But filmmakers certainly love films that go behind the scenes of their own business, from "8 1/2" to last year's Oscar winner "The Artist," and cinephiles tend to eat them up as well. But most examples of the type tend to focus on the making of the movie, with a handful, like "Adaptation," following the gestation and writing of a film, but very few have ever focused on the point at which many filmmakers say their movies actually come together: post-production.

TIFF Review: 'Thanks For Sharing' The Uneven Dramedy Version Of 'Shame'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 9, 2012 8:12 PM
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It's safe to say that sex addiction is no longer the misunderstood step-brother to alcohol and drug addiction. Thanks to reality television, cable shows like "Californication" and last year's awards season contender "Shame," the stigma around sex addiction, of it not really being a problem or something that only affects scuzzy perverts, has long since evaported. Which makes Stuart Blumberg's directorial debut "Thanks For Sharing" all the more curious. An uneven, somewhat out-of-time dramedy, the film takes great pains to confirm that sex addiction is just like any other addiction, but isn't sure what to say beyond that.

TIFF Review: Big-Hearted & Hilarious 'Silver Linings Playbook' A Touchdown From David O. Russell

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 9, 2012 12:17 PM
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  • 20 Comments
Life hasn't been too kind lately for Pat Solitano. He's just been released from a court ordered stint in a mental hospital after severly beating the man he caught cheating with his wife. Diagnosed as bipolar with mood swings, Pat has a difficult journey ahead of him but he's optimistic. With a rallying cry of "Excelsior," he believes that you can take "all negativity and make it a silver lining." His outlook is positive and he hopes to rebuild himself to win his wife back who has a restraining order out on him. And so begins David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," an enormously entertaining, crowd-pleasing winner from the director whose comedic edge has never been sharper.

TIFF Review: 'Imogene' Is A Big-Screen Sitcom, But Elevated By Kristen Wiig & Annette Bening

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 9, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 9 Comments
"Imogene" finds Kristen Wiig in victory lap mode, and that suits her just fine. Perhaps the most likable comedic actress to come down the pike since Diane Keaton threw on a Civil War-era vest and floppy hat, Wiig finds herself, post-"Bridesmaids," in rarified company. She is a beloved, in-demand actress and comedienne, and a star who has something Kristen Stewart and Angelina Jolie would maim for: likability.

TIFF Review: 'Cloud Atlas' Is Bold, Messy & Disappointingly Unimaginative

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2012 10:07 PM
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  • 53 Comments
With The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer literally throwing a critic off the roof of a building to his death in the opening moments of the nearly three-hour "Cloud Atlas," it's clear that they aren't concerned in the slightest with how this ambitious effort will be received. And you certainly have to give the trio of directors some respect for their approach, which tag teams an all-star cast, gives them multiple roles and spreads the story across nearly a half dozen time periods. But for all their boldness in narrative approach, "Cloud Atlas" is also a mess, with an attempt to mix its various genres under a universal thematic banner that never quite coheres.

TIFF Review: Manic & Meta 'Seven Psychopaths' Both Exhausts & Delights

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2012 10:46 AM
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  • 14 Comments
It would seem that following the success of "In Bruges," writer/director Martin McDonagh went to Hollywood -- and didn't like the experience. A meta riff on making movies "Seven Psychopaths" is a sneering send-up of the industry that also revels in its action movie clichés. But if there is one thing certain about McDonagh's sophomore feature film, it's that it's bigger in every sense than his debut. Boasting lots of gunplay, a big extended cast of stars willing to play along and a less witty, broader sense of humor, McDonagh tries to have it both ways by playing to the cheap seats while pointing out how absurd it is at the same time.

TIFF Review: 'The Gatekeepers' Tells Story Of Israeli Security Services Through The 'Truth Of Their Own Voices'

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • September 8, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It’s almost impossible to walk into "The Gatekeepers" without already feeling intrigued. Director Dror Moreh has taken care of that with the premise of his new documentary alone. Six ex-leaders of Israel’s top counterterrorism and security organization, Shin Bet, describe their experiences through a candid interview process. They answer (or at times cleverly avoid) tricky questions regarding their perspective on Shin Bet’s role, successes, failures and moral standing in the ongoing ravenous feud between Israel and Palestine. This is unprecedented stuff right here, on a topic that’s like a bus full of innocent people just waiting to explode. And as a film, it’s effective – for the most part.

TIFF Review: 'A Liar's Autobiography' Is An Imaginative But Not Wholly Satisfying Biopic Of Monty Python's Graham Chapman

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 8, 2012 12:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
A title screen introduces us to "A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman," saying that the voice that we will be hearing throughout the film is really Graham Chapman, made from recordings he issued just before his death (he died less than a year after being diagnosed with tonsil cancer, at the age of 48). It's the quietest, and probably most truthful moment of the entire movie, since what follows is a whirligig 3D animated romp through select portions of Chapman's life, most notably his involvement with the Monty Python comedy group, of which he was a key component. It's lively and inventive but, even when told through his own words, Chapman remains something of a cipher, even harder to get at through all the visual dazzle.

TIFF Review: 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' A Touching, Fresh & Funny Take On Teenage Love & Life

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2012 4:04 PM
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  • 14 Comments
Teenagers have generally not been well served by the movies. Folks like Cameron Crowe, John Hughes and Judd Apatow aside, adolescent life is usually positioned around the goals of having sex, partying and getting into outlandish hijinks with little-to-no actual insight into how teenagers think or feel. In fact, it has been a long time since we've really had a movie that got it right, but delivering beyond expectations, "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" is about as authentic as it gets, bringing a fresh, funny and moving look at the ups and downs of friendship and family in high school.

TIFF Review: 'Lore' Is An Evocative & Enigmatic Look At Post-WWII Moral & Emotional Fallout

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2012 3:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
With her beautiful and expressive debut feature film "Somersault," writer/director Cate Shortland established herself as a filmmaker with a sharp and observant sense of the emotional complexities of young women. And now, eight years later, she returns with belated follow-up effort "Lore," another tale of a young woman not only navigating her burgeoning sexuality, but the emotional and moral fallout of post World War II Germany, all while she battles to keep her family together and alive as power in the country changes hands.

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