The Playlist

Review: Reserved & Quiet 'Hateship Loveship' Starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte & Hailee Steinfeld

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 12, 2014 8:01 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Hateship, Loveship
Following the smash success of "Bridesmaids," Kristen Wiig has actively subverted the obvious expectations of the career choices that would follow a hit film. The actress has largely gravitated toward small-scale projects ("Girl Most Likely," "Friends With Kids"), in roles that still fit within her wheelhouse, but also allow an opportunity for Wiig to exercise the kind of acting chops that more mainstream fare doesn't afford very often. But "Hateship Loveship" is Wiig's most atypical role and turn to date, leading an ensemble cast in a drama about a family adrift in the wake of death, and the one woman who manages to keep them from completely splitting apart.

Review: 'Draft Day' With Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner And Denis Leary

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • April 11, 2014 12:35 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Draft Day
There have been countless movies made about football, but there has never been a movie made about the NFL Draft–that magical day when sports franchises from around the country vie for the hottest college players in an intense, all-day affair that combines the showmanship of a Vegas show (complete with costumed players walking onto a brightly lit stage) and the number-crunching intensity of a last minute tax audit. Thankfully, the new Ivan Reitman movie “Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner as a high strung general manager of the Cleveland Browns, repositions this mixture of pageantry politicking as a thrilling analytic free-for-all; it’s “Moneyball” as directed like an episode of “24.”

Review: 'The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden' Tells A Tale Tale, But Doesn't Quite Thrill

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 11, 2014 8:33 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden
As far as documentary subjects go, it doesn't get much juicier than the tale that launches "The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden." In the early 1930s, Friedrich Ritter and his mistress Dore Strauch split from their respective partners, left Germany and headed to the tiny, uninhabited, untamed Floreana Island in the Galapagos, where they dreamed of building a bucolic life, where they would rest, study philosophy and be able to pursue intellectual matters without the interruption of modern living. But those hopes are dashed when they are soon followed by others who come to the island, with scandal and possibly murder not far behind, with a yarn that is as unbelievable now as it probably was back then. But what should be a gripping, true crime/mystery story gets often bogged down by a lack of focus from filmmakers Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, who don't always realize the central saga can stand well enough on its own.

Review: Jim Jarmusch's Cultured & Cool 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Starring Tom Hiddleston & Tilda Swinton

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • April 10, 2014 6:21 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Only Lovers Left Alive
From the very first opening titles, written in a Germanic font that immediately conjures everything from “Triumph of the Will” to images of big-busted ladies screaming in campy close-up in 1970s cheapie horrors (it may be the only time in Cannes that a film got a big laugh for a typeface) it’s perfectly clear that the Jim Jarmusch in whose company we’re about to spend a couple of hours is not the wilfully obscure surrealist of “The Limits of Control,” nor the considered, melancholic philosopher behind “Dead Man,” nor even the oddball ragtag troubadour of “Down By Law." In fact, “Only Lovers Left Alive,” Jarmusch’s take on the vampire myth starring recent muse Tilda Swinton and Tom “fast becoming everyone’s favorite actor” Hiddleston, finds the maverick filmmaker on playful, referential and mischievous form with hugely enjoyable, if not exactly weighty or important, results.

Review: Conventional, Flawed 'The Railway Man' Starring Colin Firth And Nicole Kidman

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 9, 2014 6:13 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
The Railway Man
"The Railway Man" tells the true story of a World War II veteran mentally broken by his experiences in the war, living a lonely, isolated life, and trying to come to grips as best he can with the terror and memories that still haunt his mind. But you'd be forgiven after watching the opening portion of the film for mistaking it with a Colin Firth romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of England's lovely countryside. Going full adorkable, complete with mussed hair and oversized glasses (which we suppose would make him a hipster now), Eric (Firth) is at first glance a lovable, mild-mannered eccentric. He keeps to himself, but he's obsessed with trains—souvenirs, schedules, model numbers—he knows it all. But when Patti, played by Nicole Kidman, crosses into his single-minded field of vision, it's understandable that he finds something new worth paying attention to.

Review: 'Oculus' Delivers Good Old-Fashioned Haunted House Spookiness

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • April 9, 2014 5:45 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Oculus
If there's one certainty in the horror genre, it's that trends will come and go. Some strain of horror will be popular for a few years, then disappear just as quickly, waiting for its moment of reinvention or cultural relevance. The genre's recent past has been dominated by two forces: the torture-porn subgenre, in which our anxieties about war atrocities translate, somewhat clumsily, to movies where people spend whole running times getting pieces of their bodies lobbed off. The other, equally powerful force in horror movies has been the "found footage" genre, again translating our cultural queasiness when it comes to technology and turning it into something positively supernatural. But thanks to last summer's surprise blockbuster "The Conjuring," it looks like those are being shoved aside in favor of good old-fashioned haunted house spookiness. "Oculus" is a perfect example of this newly relevant style, and the results are damn scary.

Review: 'Rio 2' Featuring The Voices Of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx And Andy Garcia

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • April 9, 2014 2:25 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Rio 2
These days, the potential for animated films is seemingly limitless. In the past few months, we've seen Disney's boldly contemporary fairy tale "Frozen" deservedly become the highest grossing animated movie of all time, while Hayao Miyazaki was able to delicately frame the story of a man who made war machines as a love letter to artistic pursuit with "The Wind Rises," and "The Lego Movie" transcended its commercial base to become a dazzlingly funny and heartfelt movie about the true power of imagination. So it's such a shame, then, that a movie like Blue Sky Studios' "Rio 2" comes along – a visually stunning, wholly empty experience that fails to conjure any emotion stronger than an impassive shrug.

Review: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx & Dane DeHaan

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • April 8, 2014 7:03 PM
  • |
  • 49 Comments
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Jamie Foxx
As far as superhero reboots go, "room for improvement" was probably the best way to sum up 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man." Certainly financially, the film made a very healthy $750 million worldwide, but that's still less than any of the three Sam Raimi films that preceded it. And creatively, the film had some strong building blocks—an increased emphasis on romance, a hugely appealing central pairing in Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (plus support from ringers like Sally Field and Martin Sheen), a bright sense of humor, a fresh-ish take on the characters—but a patchy script, disappointing action and lackluster villain meant that there was plenty of opportunity for a sequel to prove itself worth of the title "amazing."

Review: Documentary 'I Am Divine' Shines A New Light On John Waters' Most Notorious Collaborator

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
  • |
  • April 8, 2014 5:03 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
I Am Divine
Even if you've stayed away from every John Waters film ever made, the chances of not knowing who Divine was are slim. The image of a 300-pound drag queen wearing a skin-tight red dress with candy-colored wig, bombastic face make-up, and pointing a gun at everything society consumes to be beautiful has been burnt deep enough into the culture to be instantly recognizable. Whether you've actually seen "Pink Flamingos" or not is temporarily beside the point. Loud, proud, and outrageous in every entertaining sense of the word; Divine has become—largely thanks to his work with Waters—a symbol for the countercultural movement in the '60s and '70s, and the personification of the “fuck you, you fucking fucks” angst towards society's norms. Jeffrey Schwartz's documentary on the man behind the queen, which has been raising dust at festivals around the world, works so well because you don't need to have seen a single John Waters film to connect and feel truly inspired after watching the kind of life Harris Glenn Milstead led.

Recap: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Returns With Strong Season 4 Opener, ‘Two Swords’

  • By Katie Walsh
  • |
  • April 6, 2014 10:23 PM
  • |
  • 11 Comments
Game Of Thrones
Welcome back, Gameheads, Throne Bones, Red Wedding Guests, et al. I am back to bring you the most ridiculous (but most entertaining! Hopefully!) recaps of “Game of Thrones,” and I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath! This is THE destination for Throne Games discussion, tell all your friends! A programming note: I haven’t read the books, so I welcome any and all fact-checking and fact-clarification, but just remember that the show leaves some stuff unclear week-to-week, and a woman only has so much time to delve into the “Game of Thrones” wiki, though I do my darndest. At any rate, I welcome all corrections, omissions, comments, but not complaints, because that’s my prerogative. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Email Updates

Recent Comments