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The Playlist

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
"The Gatekeepers"
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.

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?
More: Review

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.

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