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The Playlist

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.

TIFF Review: 'Hateship Loveship' Starring Kristin Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 11, 2013 10:50 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Hateship, Loveship
Following the smash success of "Bridesmaids," Kristen Wiig has actively subverted the obvious expectations of the career choices that would follow a hit film. Aside from this winter's "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty," the actress has largely gravitated toward small-scale projects ("Girl Most Likely," "Friends With Kids"), in roles that still fit within her wheelhouse, but also allow an opportunity for Wiig to exercise the kind of acting chops that more mainstream fare doesn't afford very often. But "Hateship Loveship" is Wiig's most atypical role and turn to date, leading an ensemble cast in a drama about a family adrift in the wake of death, and the one woman who manages to keep them from completely splitting apart.

TIFF Review: Paul Haggis' 'Third Person' With Liam Neeson, James Franco & Olivia Wilde Is Ludicrously Awful

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 10, 2013 5:33 PM
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  • 19 Comments
We're coming on a decade since Paul Haggis' "Crash" won Best Picture at the Oscars, and it's still one of the most divisive victories in recent memory. Detractors of the film are quick to point out the flaws in the L.A.-set drama, citing what they perceive to be the film's crass manipulativeness, one-dimensional characters, clumsy hand with racial politics and eye-rolling core of sentimentality. But frankly, you haven't seen anything yet. Haggis' return to the ensemble drama in "Third Person" makes "Crash" look like a work of understated, subtle art. A disastrously and ludicrously awful effort from the writer/director, absolutely nothing works in this facile, cliche-filled and astoundingly dull film that trades in cheap drama and soap opera theatrics.

Watch: Richard Ayoade Talks His Unsettling (And Awesome) TIFF Drama 'The Double' Starring Jesse Eisenberg

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • September 10, 2013 5:15 PM
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  • 7 Comments
The Double, Richard Ayoade
At the world premiere of “The Double,” British director Richard Ayoade’s second film, Toronto International Film Festival Artistic Director Cameron Bailey called Ayoade “one of the sharpest wits” in filmmaking, and the audience reacted with unbridled glee. New directors are rarely so well known, but Ayoade is also a comedic actor—most notably as “Moss” in the TV series “The IT Crowd”—who made his directorial debut three years ago at Toronto with the cult favorite (and critically admired) “Submarine,” a coming-of-age tale about an eccentric outsider.

TIFF Review: Catherine Breillat’s 'Abuse Of Weakness' Starring Isabelle Huppert

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • September 10, 2013 4:31 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Abuse Of Weakness, Huppert
It’s unlikely a filmmaker brought a more personal narrative project to the Toronto International Film Festival than Catherine Breillat. The “Fat Girl” and “Romance” director’s 14th film, “Abuse of Weakness,” is a strange, unsettling, and difficult-to-penetrate creation based on the most trying period of the acclaimed French filmmaker’s life. In 2004, Breillat suffered a sudden stroke, leading to a long recovery. A few years later, while still recovering, Breillat met a noted con artist named Christophe Rocancourt, an individual who would have shockingly destructive effect on her life. She was interested in Rocancourt to play the lead in an upcoming film, but what occurred for close to two years did not involve the making of a movie. (In fact, that film never went before cameras.) Instead, she gave Rocancourt loans for almost 700,000 euros, wiping out her savings.

TIFF Review: Kevin Macdonald’s ‘How I Live Now’ Starring Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, & George MacKay

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • September 10, 2013 4:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Note the title, “How I Live Now,” and its absence of colons, commas, or other punctuation implying further installments—it’s the first sign of the crucial immediacy to Meg Rosoff’s 2004 YA novel, now brought to the screen by “Last King of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald. The second is impossible to miss—a nuclear bomb detonation in near-future London—and while the film delivers a dystopian teen romance in the center of its aftermath, an unnerving atmosphere and surprising brutality actually creates tangible jeopardy and tension throughout.

TIFF Review: 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her' Starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Viola Davis & More

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • September 10, 2013 10:55 AM
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  • 24 Comments
The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby Him & Her Jessica Chastain
You’d think that with all the sappy romantic comedies that exist, "When Harry Met Sally" and Richard Linklater’s 'Before...' series (just to name the most beloved), that relationship films have run their course and said all they’ve got to say. But then this year the Palme D’Or was awarded to a film that deals with the evolution of a single relationship in a potent and tender way, and while many talked about the importance of the film in terms of sexual politics, this reviewer looked at "Blue is the Warmest Color" more as a remarkably well made relationship film. Now it has some serious competition.

TIFF Review: 'August: Osage County' Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 9, 2013 10:43 PM
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  • 67 Comments
August: Osage County' Starring Meryl Streep
It's undeniable that, at least on paper, "August: Osage County" looks like a can't-miss proposition. Pairing Tracey Letts' Pulitizer Prize and Tony Award-winning play with an outstanding ensemble cast ranging from awards-nominated veterans to rising young stars—Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham—it's hard to fathom the material not working. And while the choice of helmer John Wells ("The Company Men") might not seem like the most inspired decision, all he theoretically has to do is put the camera on a tripod and let the actors do their thing. And he does. And yet, 'Osage County' still turns out be an exhausting, screechy drama, in which a lot of very good actors work very hard, and yet produce so little as a result.

TIFF Review: EPIX Doc 'Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 9, 2013 7:37 PM
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  • 3 Comments
When it comes to men's magazines (the kind with nude girls in them and not the ones, say, stuffed with muscle cars or expensive suits), Playboy is always portrayed as the classier affair, one modeled on sleek modernity, while Penthouse is seen as an altogether more vulgar enterprise. This was summed up by the publishing titans behind the magazine: Playboy's Hugh Hefner had a trademark pipe and smoking jacket, while Bob Guccione of Penthouse had an open shirt overflowing with chest hair, a jangling wreath of gold chains around his neck and a cigarette, always dangling from his fingers or mouth. What the new EPIX documentary "Filthy Gorgeous: The Story of Bob Guccione" exposes, is that for all the smutty excesses, Guccione was a tenacious fighter for free speech, one who broke more taboos than the bunny ever did.

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