The Playlist

New Images From 'Out Of The Furnace' As Film Heads To AFI Fest

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 30, 2013 1:46 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The 2013 awards season race is so tight that even Harvey Weinstein is breaking a little bit of a sweat. He's already moved his "Grace Of Monaco" out of the way, while last week came the bummer piece of news that Bennett Miller's excellent looking "Foxcatcher" was also being pushed to 2014, with both films choosing to wait to get it right rather than rush to finish to make a release a date. But the latter picture moving has meant a bit of turmoil for AFI Fest, who were going to premiere the film this year, but they've found a worthy replacement.

AFI Interview: Amy Seimetz Discusses Her Directorial Debut 'Sun Don't Shine,' Noir & The Trappings Of Mumblecore

  • By Ryan Gowland
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  • November 18, 2012 1:50 PM
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  • 4 Comments
From its opening moments, its clear that something isn't right in Amy Seimetz's "Sun Don't Shine." Despite the palpable Florida heat, Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley) are fighting near their car during what we will soon learn is a road trip. Only, this isn't a "let's listen to my radio station" kind of fight. It's an exhausting and physical brawl, the cause of which isn't revealed until minutes later.

AFI Review: 'The ABCs Of Death' Won't Win Over Non-Horror Fans, But That's OK

  • By Ryan Gowland
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  • November 16, 2012 6:05 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Horror anthologies have been on the rise of late, with movies like "Trick 'r Treat," "Chillerama" and the found footage anthology "V/H/S" keeping the tradition alive. The latest anthology is "The ABCs of Death," which combines 26 shorts in what is less of an interwoven narrative like "Trick 'r Treat" or even a loosely connected anthology like "V/H/S" and more of a "Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation" of horror shorts, and we're not just saying that because of the use of animation and claymation. The end result provides a range of quality, from the inspired and creative to the lazy and insipid, but one that horror fans will certainly devour.

AFI Fest Review: 'The International Sign For Choking' Is Simultaneously Brash And Boring

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • November 14, 2012 6:24 PM
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  • 4 Comments
“The International Sign for Choking,” the second feature from writer-director Zach Weintraub, is kind of like one of those short-term relationships that ends when you both decide that you don’t like each other enough to keep calling. You’re not entirely sure what the point of it all was, and maybe you even feel a little regretful that it happened, but since there’s nothing you can do about the past, you move on, hopefully to someone better. And this is precisely what we’d suggest regarding this film: stop trying to understand it – there isn’t much there that’s worth figuring out – and go see something else.

AFI Fest Review: 'The Most Fun I've Ever Had With My Pants On' Loses Its Way In This Overworked, Predictable Road Movie

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • November 14, 2012 5:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Extremely personal films can prove problematic. In general, art can serve very well as a form of expression and catharsis, with the medium of film catering to this cause with particular success due to its multi-sensory stimulation. But when an individual’s emotional release begins to overwhelm or even engulf the story, it doesn’t make for exceptionally good entertainment. "The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had with My Pants On," – helmed by first timer Drew Denny, who also wrote, produced and stars in the film – is a beautifully shot and well-acted piece that is unfortunately marred by heavy-handedness and a lack of relatable characters. And what could be a wholly poignant and involving reconstruction of Denny’s own experience coping with the loss of her father slowly becomes an enmeshed, uninviting and distant self-reflection.

AFI Fest Review: Kim Nguyen's 'War Witch' a Haunting, Brutal Surrealist Fable Matched by Powerful Lead Performances

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • November 11, 2012 9:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Before any political or societal context enters the brutal cinematic depictions seen in “Come and See” and “City of God,” each effort can first speak clearly enough from the image of a child holding a firearm. Gawky, nervous, and with an expression of terrified power, the isolated sight holds many questions to a decayed rationality and natural order, but as Canadian director Kim Nguyen's shows within his searing look at African child soldiers, “War Witch," those two aspects are the first to be excised in warfare. Blending a surrealist perspective of battle-tinged faith with the harrowing tale of one girl's resilience, the film is a laser-focused fable threatened occasionally by its drifts into character shorthand, but equaled by a wrenching lead performance by Rachel Mwanza that results in one of the finest of the year.

AFI Fest Review: 'Rise of the Guardians' Is An Animated Yuletide Treat

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 7, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"Rise of the Guardians," the new DreamWorks Animation feature conceived by famed children's book author William Joyce, features, at its core, such an ingenious concept that it's hard to believe nobody's ever thought of it before. The plot concerns a kind of "Avengers"-style super-team made up of beloved childhood characters – Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Sandman (he doesn't speak but communicates through ghostly dreams), and the newest, most reluctant member of the team, Jack Frost (Chris Pine), who must band together to stop the spooky boogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) from annihilating childhood innocence in a more profoundly evil way than the Internet already has.

AFI Fest Review: Audacious 'Clip' Winds Up Overwhelmed By Its Own Despair

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • November 6, 2012 1:57 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Maja Miloš’s debut feature film “Clip” continues to tour the festival circuit, including stopovers at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Fesitval of Independent Cinema, Montreal’s Festival Du Nouveau Cinema and, most recently, in AFI’s “New Auteurs” selection. With its exposure overshadowed by the bigger international players, it still managed to impress the Dutch so much in Rotterdam that they bestowed upon it the KNF Award, “given to the best feature film in the official section that is yet to find distribution within the Netherlands.” And while all the signs pointed to a quality picture, audiences tolerance for the picture may depend on how much despair they can handle in one sitting.

AFI Fest Review: ‘Hitchcock’ A Breezy, Disposable Effort Saved By Anthony Hopkins & Helen Mirren’s Dedicated Performances

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • November 2, 2012 7:32 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Hypnotic, beautiful, and perilous in equal measure – one needn’t glance anywhere else but at the leading ladies of Alfred Hitchcock’s films to garner their intense influence, yet as dramatized in “Anvil!” director Sacha Gervasi’s loving biopic, “Hitchcock,” the real authority lingered off the set at home, shielding her husband quietly from failure and ruin. What follows is a peek behind the curtain on Hitchcock’s marriage to Alma Reville (the couple played by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren), while charting their pangs of jealousy and pressure during the turbulent making of “Psycho.”

'Hitchcock' To Make World Premiere As Opening Film At AFI Fest

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2012 1:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments
AFI Fest is bringing the heat in 2012. Already locking down Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" for a world premiere as their Closing Night film, they are going to kick things off with a helluva get.

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