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The Playlist

Review: Ben Affleck's '70s-Flavored 'Argo' Is A Terrifically Suspenseful & Entertaining Thriller

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 11, 2012 5:07 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Ben Affleck's third feature-length film, the terrifically suspenseful dramatic thriller "Argo," is the second picture to use Warner Bros.' 1970s logo in 2012. And like "Magic Mike," the Soderbergh film that employed the same logo earlier this year, it's an augur of what's to come, announcing a tone, mood and millieu that is imported straight from that era. Sporting a love for movies on his sleeve, Affleck's film gives nods to the smart, entertaining and engaging thrillers from the '70s -- "All the President's Men," "Three Days of the Condor," et al. -- and playfully with B-movie science-fiction pictures of the era without ever trying to lean too hard into any specific homage.

Review: 'Here Comes The Boom' Is Like A More Violent, Less Funny Version of 'The Fighter'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 11, 2012 2:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Kevin James is one of those actors who is so featureless and bland that he makes Tom Hanks seem, in comparison, positively exotic. With his doughy figure, dad-next-door face, and line delivery that suggests he's getting ready for the next big football game instead of commanding movies that cost tens of millions of dollars, he is so bereft of personality that you sense that he might just waft off the screen. Usually, though, he's nestled inside a Russian doll of higher caliber comedic talent, whether it's Will Smith in "Hitch" or Adam Sandler and his posse in a whole host of movies (including "Grown Ups" and "The Zookeeper"). Teaming him up with someone usually makes his bumbling everyman shtick slightly more palatable.

Review: 'Gayby' Is A Slightly Amusing Little Comedy About...You Guessed It, Babymaking With Your Best Gay

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • October 10, 2012 8:34 PM
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  • 0 Comments
You have one chance to figure out what “Gayby” is about. If you said “gay baby,” ding ding ding, you got it! Or maybe it should be “baby with a gay,” but at any rate, “Gayby” treads the familiar narrative path of the contentious relationship between the single woman and her biological clock. Much like Madonna and Rupert Everett in “The Next Best Thing,” college buds Jenn and Matt (Jennifer Harris and Matthew Wilkas, real life college buds -- check out their snapshots in the title sequence) decide to make a go of this whole babymaking business (yes, the old fashioned way).
More: Review, Gayby

Review: Celebrity, Notoriety & Living In Public As 'Frankie Go Boom'

  • By James Rocchi
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  • October 10, 2012 7:34 PM
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  • 0 Comments
'Frankie Go Boom' opens with a home video from a long-ago washed-out suburban childhood, as Bruce tricks his brother Frankie into a pitfall prank that's both caught on tape and a trap for the two of them; flashing forward to adulthood -- or something like it -- Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) has exiled himself from everything, holing up in Death Valley to write. And Bruce (Chris O'Dowd, with a solidly American accent) is just getting out of rehab, convinced that the "films" he makes -- really, just footage -- of disasters like the one that befell Frankie's wedding three years ago, mean he's a director, what with their huge online "hit" numbers…

Leos Carax Says The Mysterious & Bizarre 'Holy Motors' Began With His "Rage" Of Being Away From Cinema For 13 Years

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 10, 2012 7:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Chances are that you've never seen anything quite like "Holy Motors," Leos Carax's farcical but deeply felt odyssey through modern Paris (and his first feature in almost thirteen years -- you can read our review from Cannes here). At a New York Film Festival press screening for the film, Carax chatted with critic Amy Taubin and took questions from the audience, but those looking for answers to his deeply mysterious concoction will be left disappointed. Such is "Holy Motors."

LFF Review: Saudi Arabian Film 'Wadjda' Is A Phenomenal Debut From An Exciting New Talent

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 10, 2012 6:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The cinematic revolution in the Middle East over the last few of decades, led principally by a generation of Iranian filmmakers who've flourished creatively despite restrictions placed on them by the regime, hasn't necessarily carried over to every region. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is hardly known for its cinema, which isn't necessarily surprising, given that movie theaters were banned in the country 30 years ago.

Review: 'Nobody Walks' Is A Sensual, Emotionally Complex Film With Humor & Humanity

  • By Cory Everett
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  • October 10, 2012 1:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Martine (Olivia Thirlby), a 23-year-old New York artist arrives in LA to complete a short film for an upcoming exhibit. We see her embracing a lover in the airport parking lot and just before things get too carried away, she puts on the brakes and tells him that it was nice meeting him on the plane. This girl is going to be trouble. The opening credits roll as Martine makes her way from the airport, gazing out the window to take everything in as the city rushes by. With a synthy score by Brooklyn duo Fall On Your Sword (who also scored last year’s Sundance hit “Another Earth” as well as director Ry Russo-Young’s first film “You Won’t Miss Me”), LA seems really cool. Coming from the confined apartments and gray skies of NYC (in the winter anyway) the wide open spaces of the west coast start to look really attractive.

Review: Manic & Meta 'Seven Psychopaths' Both Exhausts & Delights

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 10, 2012 12:24 PM
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  • 1 Comment
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.

HIFF Review: Charming 'Sin Bin' Heavily Indebted To The Work Of Wes Anderson

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 9, 2012 6:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Young filmmakers often reference their heroes outright. This isn't a phenomenon exclusive to creatively wayward directors; look at the early films of genuine auteur Paul Thomas Anderson to see wholesale theft from Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman (to name a few). But when the references are a distraction to the point of actively taking away from the enjoyment of the movie, that's when things become a problem. And it's a problem that plagues the otherwise wonderful "Sin Bin," a charming little comedy about a high school kid (Michael Seater) who rents his beat-up van out to his fellow students for sexual liaisons, which owes such a stylistic debt to the films of Wes Anderson that it makes you think somewhat less of the movie.

Review: Broken Souls Come Together In Contrived Melodrama 'Least Among Saints'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 9, 2012 11:02 AM
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  • 2 Comments
There are two films at war in “Least Amongst Saints,” and neither is very compelling. The first is a faith-forward feature about redemptive spirits, where Anthony (writer/director Martin Papazian) attempts to pull himself out of a PTSD funk fueled by alcohol and bad decisions upon his return from the Middle East. The soft-gauze photography, flat storytelling and overt moralizing suggests a product straight from the Bible Belt, and even the soundtrack, both pop and orchestral, leans towards the churchy.

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