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The Playlist

Review: '[rec] 3' Is A Triumphant, Wryly Knowing Deviation From The Tired Found-Footage Horror Genre

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 6, 2012 3:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Next month, Paramount will release "Paranormal Activity 4," and if the elliptical trailers are any indication, the filmmakers are doggedly sticking to the found footage aesthetic that has made them spookily huge amounts of money on the three previous films. But the faux documentary format is wearing old very quickly, and what seemed so fresh more than a decade earlier with "The Blair Witch Project" (and intermittently since, on movies like J.J. Abrams' monster mash "Cloverfield"), is turning into just another cliché in a genre already littered with them like so many bloody body parts. Thankfully, "[rec] 3," the third in the series of popular Spanish zombie movies, wisely dispenses with the tropes that made it such a smash in the first place. The results are liberating; what could have been a stale retread is instead a lightning-pace horror comedy that seems destined for rowdy cult status.
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Review: 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' Is A Laugh-Out-Loud Portrait Of The Wild & Wacky Wayne White

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • September 6, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
“Beauty is Embarrassing” is such a warm, laugh-out-loud charmer of a documentary, thanks entirely to its subject, the wild and wonderful Wayne White, that it leaves you wondering, just where has this delightful man been all this time? And that’s the question “Beauty is Embarrassing” posits too -- serving as an opportunity to bring attention to this artist who has been more influential than we, or even he, knows.

TIFF Review: Heady, High Concept 'Looper' Is A Dazzling Piece Of Sci-Fi Noir

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 6, 2012 12:48 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Welcome to 2044, Kansas. Time travel hasn't been invented yet, but in thirty years it will be. And when it is, it's immediately outlawed, with criminal organizations using it for their own ends -- namely, to dispose of bodies. In the future, thanks to the advances in tracking people, it becomes more difficult to make someone disappear. And thus there are Loopers. Sent assignments from the future, they dispatch them in the present, get rid of the bodies, thus eliminating them in the future and get paid a modest sum for their efforts. It's not the most honorable job, but considering how bad the economy has become, it's something.

Review: 'Bachelorette' Is The Movie For Anyone Who Wished 'Bridesmaids' Was More Like 'The Hangover'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • September 6, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions, "Bachelorette" is the movie for all those people that wished "Bridesmaids" was more like "The Hangover." Three bridesmaids embark on a non-stop parade of debauchery fueled by coke, booze, and pills that make "The Hangover" dudes seem kind of like pussies. Kirsten Dunst plays Queen Bee Regan, leader of the "B-Faces" (short for "bitch faces"), a group of high school friends now in their early '30s scattered across the country in various stages of their lives. This crew includes promiscuous cokehead Gena (Lizzy Caplan), spacey retail worker Katie (Isla Fisher) and Becky ("Bridesmaids" scene stealer Rebel Wilson), a girl who was known as "Pig Face" in high school.

Review: 'Hello I Must Be Going' A Smart, Smutty & Sweet Tale About Love, Divorce & Growing Up In Your Mid-30s

  • By James Rocchi
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  • September 5, 2012 3:23 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Directed by actor-turned-director Todd Louiso and written by Louiso's wife, Sarah Koskoff, "Hello I Must Be Going" stars Melanie Lynskey as Amy Minsky, a 35-year-old, shell-shocked and shattered in the wake of her divorce. For three months now, Amy's been staying in her mom and dad's house, which is being renovated; the only thing that can blast Amy out of bed is the buzz of the bandsaw every morning. Amy's dad Stan (John Rubenstein) is distant yet loving; his idea of both a heart-to-heart and a life philosophy is to shrug and say, 'What are you gonna do?" Her mother Ruth (Blythe Danner) is a blithe and busy woman, who, when she asks if Amy has heard of antidepressants, pronounces it as if the word were hyphenated and rhymed with "croissant." Something is going to have to bring Amy around. A little self-realization, self-criticism and hot inadvisable sex in the back of her mom's Infiniti might just be the ticket.

Review: 'Girl Model' Is A Bracing Look At A Rarely Seen Side Of The Fashion Industry

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 5, 2012 1:56 PM
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  • 2 Comments
“Girl Model” opens not on a Fashion Week runway in New York or Paris, but in about the last place we would expect to find the starting point of this film: Siberia. Indeed, the sad, eye-opening documentary from directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin seems to revel in subverting this expectation of what constitutes the fashion industry, starting with ground zero for new talent. Here, in deep Siberia, far from a Vogue photo shoot, a cluster of pale, rail-thin teenagers, many in matching black bikini tops and bottoms, gamely smile as photographers shoot away, and Redmon and Sabin’s camera pans across their wide-eyed, startlingly young faces. As the film’s title appears onscreen, the girls are marched cattle-style, before being called individually before the scouts. Some continue to smile at the directors’ camera, while others eye the lens suspiciously.
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Venice Review: 'Dormant Beauty' Is Tender & Humane, But Adds Little To The Right To Die Debate

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 5, 2012 8:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The sanctity of life is one of the thorniest subjects of the 20th century, and seems certain to continue to be so for decades to come. One only has to look over the continuing debate in terms of contraception and abortion, among the most divisive and emotional issues in American politics (or, indeed, in politics around the world), to see that. And just as the question of when life begins is much-argued-over, the question of when it should be ended, and what constitutes the difference between life and death, is just as controversial.

Venice Review: Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers' Is A Semi-Conventional Genre Flick & Future Cult Favorite

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 4, 2012 4:58 PM
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  • 12 Comments
This will make you feel old: it has been 18 years since Harmony Korine wrote “Kids” at the age of 21, with the Larry Clark directed film proving to be something of a firecracker in the midst of mid-90s indie cinema, by turns controversial, seedy, and honest. Korine made his own directorial debut with 1998’s “Gummo,” and over the last 15 or so years has made films that (with the possible exception of “Mister Lonely”), push aesthetic & critical boundaries further and further, culminating in 2009’s “Trash Humpers,” a film shot on a VHS camcorder, featuring a cast in old-people masks generally trying to provoke the audience into walking out. So where could he possibly go from there?

Venice Review: Kim Ki-Duk's 'Pieta' Is A Bruising Mother-Son Relationship Drama That Ultimately Disappoints

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 4, 2012 3:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
With only a few days left of the Venice Film Festival, no clear front-runner has emerged to pick up the Golden Lion. “The Master” is probably the best-received film to date, but festival juries often shy away from the most obvious pick. “To The Wonder,” “At Any Price” and “Fill The Void” all have their fans, but all received raucous booing at critics screenings. The best movies have premiered out of competition, and many films seem like non-starters. But the best reaction we’ve heard to date across our week on the Lido came last night from abrasive, confrontational Korean director Kim Ki-Duk's “Pieta.”

Venice Review: 'A Hijacking' Is A Detailed, Gripping & Powerful High-Seas Hostage Tale

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 4, 2012 2:18 PM
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  • 9 Comments
As exciting as it can be to be one of the audience at the first public screening of an eagerly anticipated film – the new Paul Thomas Anderson or Terrence Malick, the new Rian Johnson or David O. Russell – perhaps the purest pleasure that can be found at a film festival is that of discovery. Picking something semi-randomly from the program, something with no A-listers, and no internationally renowned filmmaker at the helm, and walking out a couple of hours later feeling that you’ve uncovered a gem, and been one oft the first to find a director who could be a major talent to watch.

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