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The Playlist

Review: Nonsensical 'In Time' Will Waste Your Precious Hours & Minutes

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 27, 2011 4:03 AM
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  • 7 Comments
"In Time" is the kind of movie that literally kills off its most interesting thematic element and character about 10 minutes into the picture. To bring you up to speed, Andrew Niccol's latest sci-fi venture takes place in a future world where everyone is genetically programmed to stop aging at 25 years old, and moreover, time is used as currency. But that's not all. In addition to being able to buy everything from coffee to cars to prostitutes with the hour and minutes displayed glaringly in a digital readout on your forearm, once it runs out, you die right on the spot. A class system has emerged, of course, with the "rich" gaining virtual immortality and living the high life in an enclosed city, while the "poor" are left scrapping for enough time to stay alive in their derelict ghetto.

Review: 'Janie Jones' Gets All The Notes Right In The Most Boring Song You Could Imagine

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 27, 2011 2:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Take the worst successful bar band you can think of (it was Nickleback, don’t lie). Downgrade their talent about halfway. Now imagine the sheer amount of bands that fulfill that criteria, currently on the road shuffling from bar to bar, hoping to get lucky and have that one moment where the public puts down that one brand of shitty vanilla and samples them instead. Barely alive from a somewhat negligible record company relationship, their van heads from motel to motel, barely scraping by as the bandmates drown their free time in a sea of cheap booze and disinterested groupies.

Review: Slick Bollywood Behemoth 'RA. One' Delivers Fleeting Pleasures

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • October 27, 2011 1:58 AM
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  • 8 Comments
While Hollywood holds the world's audience enraptured, unleashing big, burly CGI extravaganzas, burgeoning international companies are revving up to put a dent into the market. Enter "RA. One," Bollywood's most expensive production and arguably the first straightforward superhero film to come out of India's massively prolific movie factory. As with any tentpole (with a warm reception pouring in from the Indian press, news of a sequel in the works are inevitable), the film comes packaged with a colossal star -- Shahrukh Khan, probably most familiar to American viewer as the star of 2010's heavy-handed drama "My Name Is Khan"). Equally important is the merchandising push, which can challenge even the most gregarious stateside rollout (the Wikipedia page expounds on coffee mugs, Happy Meals, a video game, game tournaments, action figures, comics -- major steps for an Indian film with an eye on the world market). So what you're probably asking yourself is, can director Anubhav Sinha's "RA. One" keep up with the big boys? With a 2 hour 40 minute running time and several standout set pieces, it certainly can, meanwhile sacrificing the bare minimum of character development and delivering a sluggish second act that marries "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Bicentennial Man" with little success.

Review: 'Puss In Boots' A Fun Adventure & Worthwhile Spinoff From The Lagging 'Shrek' Franchise

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • October 26, 2011 10:33 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Where “Shrek” eventually scared audiences away with its ever-expanding ensemble and pop culture references culled from current events, “Puss in Boots” streamlines its cast of characters and aims for something more straightforward, in the process not only recapturing the oddball magic of the first two “Shrek” films but the more classical charms of DreamWorks pictures like “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” After juggling too many characters with too few new ideas in “Shrek The Third,” director Chris Miller takes advantage of the opportunity to explore his own world in the Puss-centric spinoff, creating an adventure that’s both cinematic and intimate, never sacrificing sincere emotion for the short-lived glory of a good punch line or set piece.

Review: Vintage Footage In Sigur Ros Concert Doc 'Inni' Teases At A Much More Interesting Movie

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 25, 2011 4:28 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Sigur Ros has never needed much of a big stage production to get the power of their expansive, orchestral and otherworldly music across in concert. When this writer saw them perform at the intimate Théatre Maisonneuve in Montreal circa the release of Takk, they opened the show with the title track, a giant white screen in front of the stage obscuring the band, who were backlit, casting huge shadows as the music swelled. As they transitioned into "Glosoli," the screen slowly raised, revealing the band, and really that was all they needed to completely have the crowd in the palm of their hand. While Sigur Ros' rising popularity has allowed them -- and forced them, to a certain degree -- to employ projections and other big stage novelties, the music has always done more than any fancy lighting rig could. This dynamic is clearly displayed in the band's solid "Heima" documentary, which tracked them traveling through Iceland and playing acoustic concerts in small and remote towns, with their songs containing the same power and passion as they do in their fuller bodied, large-stage incarnations.

LFF '11 Review: Rebecca Hall Chiller 'The Awakening' Is Flawed, But Also Kind Of A Blast

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 25, 2011 3:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It might seem ingracious to complain, but film festivals can sometimes be something of a slog. For every transcendent piece of cinema, there are two or three well-meaning, firmly mediocre pictures clogged with mental illness, child abuse and miserable sex. Which is exactly why most film festivals mix it up a little, with a midnight genre strand, or just introducing something a little more...fun into the mix.

Review: 'The Green' A Too Familiar & Predictable Tale Of A Couple Facing Crisis

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 25, 2011 2:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments
No matter how “evolved” we may be as a society, there’s always the off-chance that someone, in some culture, is completely flummoxed by the evidence of progress with which others have grown familiar. So the fact that “The Green” centers on a reasonably attractive gay male couple isn’t really worth a second glance for most of us, but there must be acceptance as to those who might find this, at worst, an odd, intriguing novelty of sorts.
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Book Review: 'Pauline Kael: A Life In The Dark' Is A Compelling Look At The Famed Critic

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 24, 2011 4:24 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Pauline Kael famously once said that people keep asking her to write a memoir, but she had to stress to them that she already had – her life was in her work, in her vivid, long-form essays and critiques (most notably for The New Yorker) on her favorite subject: film. As Brian Kellow's new biography, thrillingly written and exhaustively researched shows, there was a whole lot more to Kael that what was in her reviews.
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Review: Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures Of Tintin' Is A Gloriously Enjoyable Mo-Cap Marvel

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 24, 2011 4:05 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Across his 40 year career as Hollywood's most beloved filmmaker, Steven Spielberg has tried his hand at many different things -- the blockbuster thrill ride, the family film, the comedy, the war film, hardcore science-fiction, serious dramas and whatever it was that "The Terminal" was, a diverse range of pictures united by that certain Spielberg je-ne-sais-quoi. But there's something he's never tackled directly himself; the animated film. Sure, he's produced TV cartoons like "Animaniacs," and even the occasional big-screen one, like "An American Tail" and "We're Back," but for the most part, the Bearded One has always preferred live action to ink and pixels.

Review: 'The Double' Is A Moth-Eaten Bag Of Cold War Clichés & Implausible Plot Twists

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 24, 2011 2:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments
There are few movies whose tone, intent, and general content can be easily discerned from the front chosen for the opening title cards. But by the end of the title cards for "The Double," a new spy thriller starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace, you know what kind of movie you're in for: the blocky font flicks by, as if being decoded by some unseen force.; it's such a hackneyed stylish tic for this kind of enterprise, used in everything from direct-to-video thrillers to episodes of "24," that it was effectively lampooned in the Coen Brothers' send up "Burn After Reading" as yet another goofy aspect of the genre (watch them below).

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