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The Playlist

Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave' Wins Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 15, 2013 1:58 PM
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  • 4 Comments
While not always an accurate prediction of future awards season success (2011 winner "Where Do We Go Now?" basically was never heard from again), the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award has more often than not been early augur of a film's potential. Previous winners including "Silver Linings Playbook," "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" point toward a specific kind of crowdpleaser that tends to gain traction among audiences, though tougher films like "Precious" have also won the hearts of the TIFF moviegoing public that vote on the winner. But certainly, we weren't expecting this.

TIFF Review: 'Felony' Written By & Starring Joel Edgerton

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 15, 2013 1:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Felony Joel Edgerton
Malcolm Toohey is a textbook example of a good cop, as we see in the opening of "Felony," written by and starring Joel Edgerton. Toohey is the kind of police officer that doesn't hesitate to charge into a dangerous situation, and by the end of the early moments of the film, his actions find him taking two shots to his bulletproof vest protected chest, all in the name of bringing down a bit player in a much bigger criminal ring. It's the kind of bravery that has earned him the respect of his colleagues. Meanwhile, on the homefront, with a beautiful wife and two young kids, things couldn't look better. But one bad decision, followed by a heat-of-the-moment lie, is all it takes for Malcolm's life to potentially unravel around him. What begins with so much promise in "Felony" is undone by a story that prefers sensationalist melodrama over tackling the much more interesting ethical dilemmas it brings up for its characters.

TIFF Review: 'Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon' Is An Entertaining & Moving Doc About The Legendary Agent

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 14, 2013 11:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon
It's probably safe to say that it's no mere coincidence that the subtitle of "Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon" recalls "Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy." Both men—one real, one fictional—are products of the '70s, a decade when drugs and women were easy, and outrageous behavior was routine. When rising agent and manager Shep Gordon wore a t-shirt declaring "No Head No Backstage Pass," it was a sexual invitation certainly, but it also served as a bit of territory-marking. Here was a man who could get what he wanted because of the access he had, and Shep certainly didn't waste a second. But there is so much more to 'Supermensch' than simply sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, which is what makes Mike Myers' directorial debut so involving, satisfying and even moving.

TIFF Review: 'Therese' Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac & Jessica Lange

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 13, 2013 1:36 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Therese, Oscar Isaac, Elizabeth Olsen
What a tangled web we weave when with heaving bosoms and pained looks of longing we deceive, and Charlie Stratton's adaptation of author Emile Zola's "Therese Raquin" certainly features enough scenes of both of those. It's a story that's been brought forth in a number to TV productions and most notably on the big screen in Marcel Carné's 1952 effort, and while this latest attempt at the material doesn't do anything strikingly radical, it does allow the lead trio of Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Lange take thoroughly decent, if unexceptional, material and make it more compelling and dramatic than it has any right to be.

Interview: Nicole Holofcener Talks Working With The Late James Gandolfini & Julia Louis-Dreyfus For 'Enough Said'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • September 12, 2013 2:33 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Enough Said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gandolfini
Writer/director Nicole Holofcener has only made five movies since 1996 (including “Walking and Talking,” “Lovely and Amazing,” “Friends With Money,” and “Please Give”), but each is an insightful, smart, female-centric gem about modern human connections.

Interview: Jonathan Glazer Talks The Guerilla Shoot Of His Bold 'Under The Skin' Starring Scarlett Johansson

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 12, 2013 1:26 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Under The Skin
It has been close to a decade since commercials and music video director turned filmmaker Jonathan Glazer released his sophomore feature film, “Birth.” Following his slick and stylish debut, the gangster flick “Sexy Beast,” the film marked a leap forward stylistically, with longer takes, a bold visual approach and a carefully considered integration of narrative and score. And now with his third film, “Under The Skin,” Glazer has again pushed the language of his filmmaking into bold and truly exciting places.

Kelly Reichardt Talks Her Eco-Thriller ‘Night Moves,’ The Mysteries Of Co-Star Dakota Fanning & More

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • September 11, 2013 3:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Night Moves, Kelly Reichardt
Director Kelly Reichardt (“Wendy and Lucy,” “Meek’s Cutoff’) has an eye for vast American landscapes, in which she deliberately places lonesome, trudging souls who are continuously searching—for connections, for new lives, for meaning.

Interview: Steve McQueen Talks '12 Years A Slave,' 'Django Unchained', Pitt & Fassbender & More

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • September 11, 2013 2:37 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
With “Hunger,”his feature debut in 2008, Turner Prize-winning artist-turned-director Steve McQueen made a bold statement right out of the gate: he was a filmmaker to watch. Three years later, “Shame” solidified his reputation as an audacious director with an unflinching eye. And now, with “12 Years a Slave,” which screened this week at the Toronto International Film Festival after premiering at Telluride, McQueen has made what is destined to become the definitive film about slavery in the American South (you can read our review of the film here).

Interview: Mia Wasikowska Talks Working With Richard Ayoade & Jesse Eisenberg In "The Double'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • September 11, 2013 1:44 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The Double
At just 23, Australian actress Mia Wasikowska has already proven her impressive range. In roles spanning “In Treatment,” “Jane Eyre,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “The Kids are All Right,” audiences have come to appreciate her gentle and elegant thoughtfulness, mixed at times with a wisdom seemingly beyond her years.

TIFF Review: Eli Roth's Cannibal Horror Tale 'The Green Inferno'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • September 11, 2013 12:06 PM
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  • 11 Comments
When Eli Roth first appeared on the scene a decade ago, he looked like he might just be the savior the horror genre was looking for. A wave of hype preceded his debut "Cabin Fever," thanks to a raucous reception at TIFF Midnight Madness, a seal of approval from David Lynch and from Roth himself, who name dropped "Evil Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as influences and promised a return to the glory days of '70s/'80s horror. In the post-"Scream," pre-"Saw" early aughts, that seemed like a hell of a good proposition for most horror fans. When the film was released the following year, it couldn't help but come as a bit of a letdown (especially when held next to the aforementioned classics) but by that point, Roth had already gotten his audience in the door. Perhaps sensing he had made his audience a promise he didn't fully deliver on, he pushed things further with 2005's "Hostel," a truly scary and original horror premise though it was not without its issues, at the very least it seemed as if Roth was reaching for the brass ring of making a truly great horror film and inching a little closer towards it.

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