The Playlist

Venice Review: 'Passion' Has Flashes Of Classic Brian De Palma, But Often Feels Lackluster

  • By Jamie Dunn
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  • September 7, 2012 2:40 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Like the waves that lap the beach by the Palazzo del Cinema in Venice, Brian De Palma is reassuringly steadfast. Over the years his Movie Brat brethren Scorsese and Spielberg have adapted their respective styles to align with evolving audience tastes and advancing technology, embracing 3D and motion capture with their most recent works. Meanwhile, Terrence Malick, the other New Hollywood veteran competing for this year’s Golden Lion, experiments in increasingly radical filmmaking syntax with each passing movie. But De Palma is dogged: he continues to explore themes and techniques that have obsessed him since his ‘70s/’80s salad days of “Carrie” and “Body Double."

Watch: Dirty Projectors Short Film 'Hi Custodian’ In Full, Plus Our Report From Last Night's NYC Premiere

  • By Ashley Clark
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  • September 7, 2012 2:11 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Part music video, part absurdist road movie, "Hi Custodian" is a new short film from the band Dirty Projectors which draws extensively upon their new album Swing Lo Magellan for its soundtrack. Directed by (and starring) band leader Dave Longstreth and shot by cinematographer Bobby Bukowski ("Rampart"), it features the rest of the band in a variety of hazily defined roles.

Review: 'Green' Tinged With The Color Of Lust

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 7, 2012 1:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
When you love someone, there exists an innate fear that they may find someone else. Someone mentally stronger, perhaps, or just more naturally kind. Or, in some cases, just different. What’s devastating is the change occurring within someone we thought we knew intimately. Is this the person we fell in love with? Is this the person who claims they know me better than anyone else?
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TIFF Review: 'White Elephant' Is A Predictable, But Well-Acted & Worthy Study Of The Buenos Aires Slums

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 7, 2012 10:10 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Pablo Trapero’s “White Elephant” is a smartly acted, beautifully scored, often bracingly directed film of good intentions and big ambition. Yet it can only be called a modest success, and, in light of how strong some of its individual elements are, even a slight disappointment. Word from Cannes, where the film premiered last May, was that writer/director Trapero’s study of two Catholic priests working in the slums of Buenos Aires never quite connects, and was probably the least successful of the Latin American films on display at the film festival. (It was no “No,” apparently.)
More: TIFF, Review

Review: Henry Cavill Vehicle 'The Cold Light Of Day' Should Have Stayed In Deep Freeze

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 7, 2012 8:55 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Sneaking into theaters with little to no fanfare at the tail end of summer, "The Cold Light of Day," a dramatically inert and visually muddy thriller from Mabrouk El Mechri ("JCVD"), is so bad that its mere presence in theaters feels like the behind-the-scenes machinations of some kind of contractual obligation instead of actual enthusiasm on anyone's part. It's telling that the movie was released in the United Kingdom back in April (it was rightly savaged) and is only finally coming out here.

Review: 'The Inbetweeners' Trots Out Your Favorite Sex Comedy Grossouts, Now With An Accent

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 6, 2012 4:55 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Those who have no experience with the UK series “The Inbetweeners” will be glad to know that, like this critic, if you have no prior familiarity with the characters from the series (or the MTV spinoff) , then its film spin-off “The Inbetweeners Movie” (or plain old "The Inbetweeners" on its U.S. release, which starts this Friday) will still make perfect sense. Though one does wonder how you get a series that seems to be about the UK’s declining school system, and the sociopath malcontents that somehow are permitted to graduate, on the air. Surely “The Inbetweeners” is a show about the bureaucratic struggles of an overtaxed school board dealing with the foulest, most obnoxious, sex-obsessed deviant jerk teenagers of England’s suburban middle class, which makes the movie, a lighter affair, seem like a brief respite. This must be the case.

Review: '[rec] 3' Is A Triumphant, Wryly Knowing Deviation From The Tired Found-Footage Horror Genre

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 6, 2012 3:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Next month, Paramount will release "Paranormal Activity 4," and if the elliptical trailers are any indication, the filmmakers are doggedly sticking to the found footage aesthetic that has made them spookily huge amounts of money on the three previous films. But the faux documentary format is wearing old very quickly, and what seemed so fresh more than a decade earlier with "The Blair Witch Project" (and intermittently since, on movies like J.J. Abrams' monster mash "Cloverfield"), is turning into just another cliché in a genre already littered with them like so many bloody body parts. Thankfully, "[rec] 3," the third in the series of popular Spanish zombie movies, wisely dispenses with the tropes that made it such a smash in the first place. The results are liberating; what could have been a stale retread is instead a lightning-pace horror comedy that seems destined for rowdy cult status.
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Review: 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' Is A Laugh-Out-Loud Portrait Of The Wild & Wacky Wayne White

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • September 6, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
“Beauty is Embarrassing” is such a warm, laugh-out-loud charmer of a documentary, thanks entirely to its subject, the wild and wonderful Wayne White, that it leaves you wondering, just where has this delightful man been all this time? And that’s the question “Beauty is Embarrassing” posits too -- serving as an opportunity to bring attention to this artist who has been more influential than we, or even he, knows.

TIFF Review: Heady, High Concept 'Looper' Is A Dazzling Piece Of Sci-Fi Noir

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 6, 2012 12:48 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Welcome to 2044, Kansas. Time travel hasn't been invented yet, but in thirty years it will be. And when it is, it's immediately outlawed, with criminal organizations using it for their own ends -- namely, to dispose of bodies. In the future, thanks to the advances in tracking people, it becomes more difficult to make someone disappear. And thus there are Loopers. Sent assignments from the future, they dispatch them in the present, get rid of the bodies, thus eliminating them in the future and get paid a modest sum for their efforts. It's not the most honorable job, but considering how bad the economy has become, it's something.

Review: 'Bachelorette' Is The Movie For Anyone Who Wished 'Bridesmaids' Was More Like 'The Hangover'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • September 6, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions, "Bachelorette" is the movie for all those people that wished "Bridesmaids" was more like "The Hangover." Three bridesmaids embark on a non-stop parade of debauchery fueled by coke, booze, and pills that make "The Hangover" dudes seem kind of like pussies. Kirsten Dunst plays Queen Bee Regan, leader of the "B-Faces" (short for "bitch faces"), a group of high school friends now in their early '30s scattered across the country in various stages of their lives. This crew includes promiscuous cokehead Gena (Lizzy Caplan), spacey retail worker Katie (Isla Fisher) and Becky ("Bridesmaids" scene stealer Rebel Wilson), a girl who was known as "Pig Face" in high school.

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