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The Playlist

TIFF Review: Nicole Holofcener's 'Enough Said' Starring James Gandolfini & Julia Louis-Dreyfus

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 9, 2013 9:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The one constant surprise about getting older is that the ongoing lesson you soon learn is that you'll never figure it all out. Whatever you seemed confident and sure about at twenty becomes more nuanced by thirty and by the time you're seeing forty on the horizon, what was important two decades ago may seem trivial now. In short, life doesn't keep you on a consistent learning curve, and continually changes the game and the rules, but lets all hope we have the heart and small wisdoms of Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" to carry us through.

TIFF Review: Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Enemy’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal Is A Haunting Look At Our Dark Desires

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • September 8, 2013 7:00 PM
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  • 14 Comments
At the risk of blatantly repeating ourselves, Jake Gyllenhaal and director Denis Villeneuve are on the cusp of a banner 2013 that is about to hit its crest. Their first-unveiled collaboration, the harrowing, Fincher-with-more-emotional-resonance crime thriller “Prisoners” has already bruised audiences in Telluride and Toronto (read our review here). But if “Prisoners” is the grimmest studio film you’ve seen since “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” then “Enemy”—chronologically their first collaboration—is the equally dark but more experimental and arty cousin. And a terrifically haunting one at that.

TIFF Review: Richard Ayoade's Daring 'The Double' Starring Jesse Eisenberg & Mia Wasikowska

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2013 3:38 PM
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  • 16 Comments
When Richard Ayoade arrived in 2010 with his charming tale of adolescence and young romance with the stylish "Submarine," the picture was immediately greeted with rather reductive comparisons to Wes Anderson. It was an unfair assessment levelled at the movie and filmmaker—even from those who championed the film—that diminished what an accomplished piece of cinema Ayoade had put together. And one can't help but wonder if "The Double" is a sly response to those criticisms of borrowing from others. Certainly, his latest will invoke names like Terry Gilliam and Michel Gondry to be tossed around, but make no mistake: not only does "The Double" confirm Ayoade as one of the brightest rising talents behind the camera, it's completely his own and unlike anything you've seen in cinemas in quite some time.

TIFF Review: 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner's 'You Are Here' Starring Zach Galifianakis & Owen Wilson

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 8, 2013 3:25 PM
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  • 21 Comments
Owen Wilson & Zach Galifianakis in YOU ARE HERE
Matthew Weiner’s “You Are Here” is the worst “Mad Men”-related disaster since Sally Draper walked in on her father and Linda Cardellini going at it last season. And that was pretty bad, especially since Sally has already barged in on several passionate trysts—happily, not always involving her old man. “You Are Here” is far, far more soul-crushing: a supposed passion project that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival with an air of mystery. Would Weiner’s first feature be a comedy? Would it have the feel of the modern television classic? Or perhaps seem linked to Weiner’s sitcom roots? And would it be any good? The answers to those questions are yes, no, yes, and my goodness, no.

TIFF Review: Götz Spielmann’s 'October November' Is A Disappointing Follow-Up To His Great 'Revanche'

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 8, 2013 11:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment
October November
Götz Spielmann’s “October November” might be the quietest drama of 2013, an intimate, somber study of one family’s unsaid truths. It is also, however, a film that leaves little impression, making it a step backwards—or, at the very least, sideways—for the director of the stunning “Revanche.” Spielmann’s 2008 character study/thriller was deservedly nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (2009), and drew an international spotlight to the Austrian filmmaker. His much-anticipated follow-up, “October November,” made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and while it plays reasonably well in a festival setting, it is unlikely to make waves worldwide.

TIFF Review: 'Can A Song Save Your Life?' Starring Keira Knightley & Mark Ruffalo

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2013 9:39 AM
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  • 12 Comments
Can A Song Save Your Life?
Though the music industry has undergone a sea change over the last decade, the goal for both major studios and artists remains the same: musicians want to write great songs and put them out into the world, and record labels want to make some money by helping them do it. That being said, these days, the line is sharply drawn between genuine songwriters and visionaries and corporate processed pop stars. Moreover, solo acts or groups no longer need the crumbling machine of the industry to get their work out there and recognized. The internet has more than enough avenues to turn overnight bedroom performers into the next blogosphere buzz act. A&R scouts are a dying breed. But for argument's sake, you'll need to pretend that world of major label nurturing, and the hunt for the next great thing still exists for "Can A Song Save Your Life?"

TIFF Review: 'The Railway Man' Starring Colin Firth & Nicole Kidman

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 8, 2013 9:14 AM
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  • 21 Comments
"The Railway Man" tells the true story of a World War II veteran mentally broken by his experiences in the war, living a lonely, isolated life, and trying to come to grips as best he can with the terror and memories that still haunt his mind. But you'd be forgiven after watching the opening portion of the film for mistaking it with a Colin Firth romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of England's lovely countryside.

TIFF Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club' With Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto And Jennifer Garner

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2013 3:23 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Dallas Buyers Club
It's 1986, just months after Rock Hudson's death brings AIDS to its biggest public attention yet, but as far as Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) is concerned, the real tragedy is the number of Hollywood babes the legendary actor could've easily bedded if he was straight. Along with cocaine, booze and whatever else can give him a good time, sex is an addiction for Texas man, who seems to have been born with a cowboy hat on his head, a Budweiser in his hand and one eye constantly on the opposite sex. He's a good ol' boy and hustler, playing for and betting on anything, while his rundown trailer is merely where he lays his head between the bar, his work as an electrician and wherever else his adventures might take him. But lately he's been getting rail thin, coughing a lot and even passing out. But it's only after a freak electrical accident on a work site that he winds up being seen by a doctor, and a brief high voltage jolt is the least of his problems. He's got HIV, and he's given 30 days to live.

TIFF Review: Jason Bateman's Directorial Debut 'Bad Words'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 7, 2013 8:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Bad Words, Jason Bateman
The past few years have seen the R-rated comedy rise in popularity with audiences, in acclaim with critics and, most importantly, in dollars at the box office. But while successes like "The Hangover" (the first one only) and "Bridesmaids" are pinnacle examples of using the adults-only rating to raunchy perfection, there are handfuls more that simply think a wacky premise and salty language are the only ingredients you need for comedy. What many of these films don't understand is that without smart context or clever delivery, the punch and power of cursing or even the salaciousness of a well-placed breast doesn't work. And while Jason Bateman's directorial debut "Bad Words" undoubtedly uses a lot of them, few add up to any genuine comedy.

TIFF Review: ‘Rush’ Starring Chris Hemsworth & Daniel Brühl Finds Ron Howard In Top Gear

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 6, 2013 5:52 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Rush, Chris Hemsworth
It's only "rebels, lunatics and dreamers" that decide to get behind the wheel and race for a living, so quips Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) in the early moments of Ron Howard's "Rush," and there's an undeniable logic to his observation. For who else would willingly strap themselves into a fiberglass frame, powered by a 500-horsepower engine to drive at unimaginable speeds around a racetrack, where even the faintest hint of a wrong move could end your life? And who else would embrace the odds where at the beginning of each race year, it's known that an average of two drivers will die out of a field of twenty-five? Well, Lauda is one of those people, as is Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), and together they made worldwide headlines for their intense rivalry and passion for the sport. Howard's film matches that fuel-injected devotion in a film that goes beyond mere sports biopic to tale of two men forged by gasoline, jumpsuits and ambition.

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