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The Playlist

Review: 'The Woman In Black' A Smart, Stylish & Atmospheric Old School Horror Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 2, 2012 11:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a walking wound. Still mourning the death of his wife a couple of years after she gave birth to their son, the young lawyer has seen his career put into jeopardy and this worry is compounded by the bills beginning to stack up. The patience and sympathy of his boss is beginning to run out, and in a last chance to save his job, Arthur is given the task of heading to the remote village of Crythin Gifford to settle the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Arthur's boss warns that the locals have been a bit uncooperative, a description the lawyer will soon find to be an understatement. And despite a calculated effort by the citizens, who literally put him on a carriage back to the station to catch the train to London, he perserveres, and is slowly ensnared in a mystery that has essentially paralyzed the town.

Review: Teens & Superpowers Are A Volatile Mix In Refreshing & Clever 'Chronicle'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 2, 2012 10:57 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Having superpowers these days seems to be no fun at all. Christian Bale is forever haunted by moral conundrums, death, and pain both physical and emotional in Christopher Nolan's Batman films. Spider-Man's enjoyment of his wall-crawling skills are usually tempered by tears and emotions (emphasis on the emo), in Sam Raimi's trilogy. Meanwhile, Thor has some kind of Shakesperean level issues going on with this family and Iron Man seems rather blasé about it all. So, when the trio of Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) gain their superpowers by accident in "Chronicle," they react the way any teenage boys would with the newfound gift of telekinesis -- they're fucking thrilled. And even better, it seems that's just the start of their abilities. 

Review: 'The Innkeepers' Is Less 'House Of The Devil,' More 'Scooby Doo'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 1, 2012 2:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Ti West has found a formula, and by god, he’s sticking to it. The indie helmer began in the world of micro-budgeted horror, where financial reasons necessitated a slow burn and eventual third act reveal. As his budgets have increased, his approach hasn’t changed, favoring this methodical strategy to the money-shot-driven approach by most modern horror filmmakers.

Review: 'Bad Fever' Is An Uncomfortable, Amusing Look At The Life Of An Aspiring Comedian Loner

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • January 31, 2012 1:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
We'll laugh at a talented comedian's various musings on pop culture, politics, stupid people, or their shitty life -- but we don't often see this person off the stage working the routine out or even going through those situations which fill the clubs with chortles. Removed from the brick backdrop and spotlight, these moments would likely take a different shape -- an ugly and uncomfortable one, and it's a wonder how many people (even junkies of that specific entertainment) would actually be game to watch it. But such is the premise for Dustin Guy Defa's small, no-budget second effort "Bad Fever," in which the director subjects the audience to the lonely ramblings of Eddie (Kentucker Audley, "Open Five") as he searches for a worthwhile human connection crafting his humorous, mile-a-minute perspectives on life.

Book Review: 'Sherlock Holmes On Screen' Is An Exhaustive And Informative Look at Pop Culture's Greatest Sleuth

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 30, 2012 12:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
First appearing in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes eventually featured in four novels and 56 short stories and the legacy of the sleuthing detective is unparalleled, and the devotion of his fans is, to this day, truly remarkable. Holmes has been adapted and appropriated endlessly, either in straight reworks of the original stories, or riffs, parodies, or spin-offs. It’s telling that just this moment there are two highly visible Holmes in popular culture – Robert Downey Jr’s brawling take in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Thrones” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s erudite modern incarnation on the BBC series “Sherlock” (it just wrapped its second season). So it’s no small task to try and catalog the various on-screen Holmes appearance. Thankfully, Alan Barnes is up to the challenge with his wonderful new compendium, “Sherlock Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History.” Sherlock himself would have been proud.
More: Review

Sundance Review: Weird & Sometimes Confusing 'John Dies At The End' Is Still An Odd & Engaging Genre Treat

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 29, 2012 2:52 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The problem addressing fans of “Midnight” films and wacky horror can succinctly be found in the opening of Don Coscarelli's “John Dies At The End.” It involves axe handles, zombies, mutant leeches, axe heads, hardware store trips and answering a dead man as to whether or not the axe in question is the same that killed him. Confused? If you are, then you don't want to stick around. If you're too overjoyed that the spiritual successor to Sam Raimi has appeared, you're in luck.

Sundance Review: Richard Gere Shines In The Gripping Moral Morass Of 'Arbitrage'

  • By William Goss
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  • January 29, 2012 12:02 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is celebrating his 60th birthday at the start of "Arbitrage," first with his family – including wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and daughter/chief financial officer Brooke (Brit Marling) – and then with his mistress, Julie (Laetitia Casta). As the hedge fund manager’s deep financial woes become apparent to us, one wonders if he isn’t wishing while blowing out two cakes’ worth of candles for the ability to convince every character around that he still has the Midas touch.

Sundance Review: 'Red Lights' Invites You To Stop, Look & Listen

  • By William Goss
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  • January 28, 2012 6:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What you see, you can’t believe. What you can’t understand, though, can ultimately be explained. This is the modus operandi for Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), parapsychologists primarily interested in debunking supernatural phenomena. “When I see hoof prints,” she says, “I think of horses, not unicorns.” They work out of the Scientific Paranormal Research Center, a budget-strained department of an anonymous university, luring in curious students like Sally (Elizabeth Olsen) and Ben (Craig Roberts) while butting heads with the well-supported likes of Dr. Paul Shackleton (Toby Jones).

Review: Michael Mann & David Milch's 'Luck' Is Slow Out Of The Gate, But Eventually Builds Into A Gallop

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 28, 2012 1:32 PM
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  • 12 Comments
The above quote, from a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, illustrates one of the fundamental frustrations in watching "Luck," the new horse racing world drama on HBO. Birthed by Michael Mann and David Milch ("Deadwood," "NYPD Blue"), their creative clashes during the production are no secret, leading to a sharp line being drawn in terms of creative duties (nicely outlined by The Atlantic) that essentially saw Milch have total control on the scripts, while Mann oversaw everything on set (reportedly including a three-ring binder filled with detailed instructions from lighting to camera angles on how to shoot to show for the directors of each episode). The result is a series that is somewhat stilted, enegertically shot, but often lethargically paced, dropping the viewer into a world they will have to adapt and learn about quickly.
More: Luck, HBO , Review

Review: Katherine Heigl's 'One For The Money' Isn't Worth A Dime

  • By Jeff Otto
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  • January 28, 2012 8:41 AM
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  • 8 Comments
"One for the Money" brings Janet Evanovich’s beloved heroine Stephanie Plum to life on screen, a ditzy would-be bounty hunter who succeeds only in endangering the lives of anyone near her and dismissing the intelligence of audiences. Adapted from the 1994 novel of the same name, the story finds the down-on-her-luck Stephanie (Katherine Heigl) in desperate need of money. Out of options, she turns to her sleazeball cousin Vinnie (Patrick Fischler), who runs a bail bond business unoriginally named Vincent Plum’s Bail Bonds. He reluctantly sets her up as a bail recovery agent, figuring she’ll soon tire of the endeavor and find herself a more appropriate line of work. But Plum instead sets her sights on the biggest score, both professionally and personally. Turns out the highest-stake target is a former vice cop wanted for murder who also just happened to leave Ms. Plum high and dry after taking her virginity in high school. Hell hath no fury and blah, blah, blah...

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