The Playlist

Paper Magazine Critic Goes Contrarian, Names ‘12 Years A Slave’ Worst Film Of 2013

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • December 18, 2013 10:21 AM
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  • 14 Comments
12 Years A Slave
While we’re mostly celebratory around these parts, a considerable aspect of our year-end cinematic reflections has been dredging up those unspeakable films long since forgotten for one final verdict—think “Violet and Daisy,” “I Give It A Year," or “The Big Wedding." We compiled our 20 favorite abominations here, but elsewhere head film critic of Paper Magazine Dennis Dermody has aimed for more awards-centric fare with his list, and ended up with director Steve McQueen’s work in his sights.

How 5 Recent Horror Films Scared Up Big Success At The Box Office

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 22, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 3 Comments
After initial loud buzz way back at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival where its screening triggered a bidding war, horror flick "You're Next" is finally about to invade theaters nationwide. The tale of a band of masked intruders who violently disrupt a family get together, it's a kicky treat that we finally got a chance to watch at SXSW this year (you can read our review here). While it seems like it could be a late summer hit, if recent horror hits have proven anything, it's that it's nearly impossible to preemptively diagnose what genre fare is going to make a very respectable amount of money at the box-office.

Universal Wants 'Mama' Franchise, But Director Andrés Muschietti Isn't Interested

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 20, 2013 11:26 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The success of horror movies in the early part of the year can be deceiving. For example, last year "The Devil Inside" shocked everyone by taking over $30 million on its opening weekend (even though it quickly tapered off, with audiences giving it a rare F CinemaScore thanks to its "go-to-the-website" ending). And this year, we're seeing the same similar unlikely stories play out. "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" has quietly inched its way to over $50 million domestic, and over $100 million worldwide (seriously), while the Guillermo Del Toro produced, Jessica Chastain starring "Mama" is approaching $70 million at home with more to come from overseas. And wouldn't you know it, Universal is smelling franchise.

Discuss: Does Having 'Mama' & 'Zero Dark Thirty' At The Top Of The Box Office Make Jessica Chastain A Movie Star?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 22, 2013 12:05 PM
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  • 26 Comments
As has been commented on by more than one person in the last day or two, this weekend's box office chart contains an impressive feat. Both the number one movie, the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror "Mama," and the number two film, Kathryn Bigelow's much-lauded "Zero Dark Thirty," feature the same actress in the lead role -- Jessica Chastain.

Box Office: Jessica Chastain Dominates With 'Mama' & 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'The Last Stand' Flops

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 20, 2013 1:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Jessica Chastain: A-List star? Following a Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Zero Dark Thirty," the leading lady stars in the top two films at the box office despite a fairly crowded weekend. Cheapie horror film "Mama" blew away a couple of newcomers to open strong at the top spot, followed by the second weekend of Kathryn Bigelow's Best Picture nominee, both movies showcasing the actress in very different roles. It's not enough that Chastain's films would finish 1-2, but rather that in the horror picture, she plays an ineffectual goth surrogate mother, and in the military thriller, she assumes the role of a government-approved dealer of death. Swank, thy name is Chastain. Not Hilary Swank, though, don't get it twisted.

Jessica Chastain Reveals How Crystal Castles Inspired Her 'Mama' Role, Says She Wants To Be A Bond Villain

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 19, 2013 12:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
This weekend, Jessica Chastain, the beloved, ethereal star of "The Tree of Life" and "The Help" (and currently Oscar nominated for her fiercely brilliant performance in Kathryn Bigelow's dazzling "Zero Dark Thirty"), goes to the dark side with the Guillermo del Toro-produced, Andy Muschietti-directed chiller "Mama." She plays a woman struck with a double-whammy: dealing with having to raise her two nieces who were recently recovered from a cabin in the woods where they'd raised themselves for years, and the maternal ghost (dubbed "Mama") who is still very possessive.

What Are You Seeing This Weekend? 'Broken City' Will Take 'The Last Stand' For Your 'Mama'

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • January 18, 2013 3:58 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It's another weekend of post-New-Year roll-outs, and this batch continues to solidify January's low-rung status in the theatrical release schedule. Even with the bloated roster of celebrity names, there is a noted dearth of quality among the films (plus, no Ryan Gosling, whose appearance always makes things just a little bit better). Now, we're not trying to discourage you from going to see the Governator's cinematic comeback, or Guillermo del Toro's newest (and weakest) CGI monster... Okay, fine, yes we are. So here are a few alternatives: (1) check out our 2013 Oscar coverage, and catch up with the nominees you haven't seen yet; (2) brush up on your film history and update your Netflix queue with recommendations from our latest features, including Kim Jee-Woon, Max Von Sydow, and Ang Lee. Enjoy!

Review: Silly Horror Fairy Tale 'Mama' Is Another Misfire For The Guillermo Del Toro Presents Brand

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • January 17, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 6 Comments
The opening scrawl for “Mama” certainly sets the stage for another familiar horror tale in the Guillermo del Toro mold. Text is scribbled over black, declaring the story happened “once upon a time…” and then the film starts, and it’s pretty much all downhill from there. Riddled with clunky exposition, an abundance of horror movie clichés, and marked by a careless attitude towards even a basic internal logic, writer-director Andrés Muschietti’s debut feature – based off his 2008 short film of the same name – is deserving of its January dumping ground release.

Oh 'Mama': 5 Of The Worst Movie Mothers

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 16, 2013 12:57 PM
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  • 7 Comments
This week sees the release of "Mama," the low-budget horror flick, expanded from a short film by writer-director Andres Muschietti, and executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro, which as the title must suggest, is a chiller at least in part concerned with the issue of motherhood. Jessica Chastain's bass-playing hipster is forced into a maternal role when the nieces of her boyfriend (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are found in a near-feral state. But the kids are being menaced (or are they?) by something that may -- or may not -- be the spirit of their departed mama.

Interview: Guillermo del Toro Talks 'Mama,' 'Pacific Rim,' 'Crimson Peak' & What Happened To His Disney Double Dare You Shingle

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 15, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 2 Comments
This weekend the new horror film "Mama" opens in theaters nationwide. It's the spooky tale of a pair of young girls who are abandoned in a cabin in the woods for several years. When they are finally discovered and returned to society, to live with their kindly uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from "Game Of Thrones") and his punkish girlfriend (Jessica Chastain), something else comes along with them… a spectral figure the girls name "Mama." In other words: perfect material for producer Guillermo del Toro to shepherd to the big screen.

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