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Review: 'To Be Takei' Explores The Personal And Political Sides Of The 'Star Trek' Icon

9 hours ago

Anyone who follows George Takei on Facebook, has tuned in to his frequent appearances on “The Howard Stern Show,” or marveled at one of his amazing Amazon reviews (seriously, look them up), knows that the former “Star Trek” actor lives life with an unprecedented amount of zippy good humor, especially for a man well into his seventies. And this isn’t even taking into account his tireless humanitarian efforts, mostly on the subject of gay rights. For a tiny, elderly, Japanese man, he’s also an unstoppable force of nature. In the new documentary “To Be Takei,” it becomes clear that Takei is a man who defies expectations and subverts stereotypes at virtually every turn. It’s just a shame the movie wasn’t as progressive as its subject. Most will remember Takei as Sulu from the original “Star Trek” series, helming the starship Enterprise during the entire television run »

- Drew Taylor

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Review: Enticing And Memorable Sundance Winner 'Metro Manila'

10 hours ago

This is a reprint of our review from the 2013 Fantasia Film Festival. If you're not into niche genre stuff like indie slasher films, Asian action flicks and ridiculously over-the-top monster movies then it's likely that you haven't even heard of the Fantasia Film Festival. For close to three full weeks this international festival descends upon the city of Montreal like a tidal wave of cinematic weirdness. The titles alone speak a thousand words: "Big Ass Spider!," "Zombie Hunter," "Curse of Chucky," "Drug War" etc. So when a movie like Sean Ellis' "Metro Manila" parachutes its way into the program, it almost feels like taking the first breaths of oxygen after a plastic bag's been lifted. Maybe it's the festival widening its range to include the sub-genres of drama, or it could be that they've succumbed to the temptation of premiering the 2013 Sundance Audience Award winner in Canada. Whatever the reason is, »

- Nikola Grozdanovic

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Watch: First Trailer For Stephen King Thriller 'A Good Marriage' With 'House Of Cards' Star Kristen Connolly

11 hours ago

With big studio adaptations of high-profile titles like "The Stand" and "It" in the works, it's easy to forget there are a number of smaller-scale Stephen King-based movies on the way. One of them is called "A Good Marriage," and well....it's certainly a movie, that much we'll say. Joan Allen, Anthony Lapaglia, Kristen Connolly, and Stephen Lang star in this one about a regular married couple whose world is rocked when the wife discovers a horrifying secret about her husband — he's a serial killer (though, what serial killer leaves all their clues in a not-so-hidden box in the garage?). This leads to Bing searches (who uses Bing!?), discoveries on the interwebs, and Lapaglia acting crazy in a movie directed by Peter Askin ("Company Man").  Hopefully, the cast — who we really like — will elevate this thing, because otherwise it looks a bit dodgy. "A Good Marriage" opens on October 3rd, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Nyff Doc Line Up Includes Films From Martin Scorsese, Frederick Wiseman, Albert Maysles & More

12 hours ago

The fall festival lineup keeps growing and growing. This morning Tiff beefed up their slate, and now the New York Film Festival is highlighting the titles in their documentary section. And they've got a lot of familiar faces. So, who's unspooling new films? How about Martin Scorsese ("The 50-Year Argument"), Joshua Oppenheimer ("The Look Of Silence"), Albert Maysles ("Iris"), Frederick Wiseman ("National Gallery") and more. It doesn't get much better than that these days in the doc world, and it's hard to argue with a slate heavy on veterans of the genre. The New York Film Festival runs September 26th to October 12th. Dreams Are Colder Than Death (NY Premiere) Arthur Jafa, USA, 2013, Dcp, 52m In this new essay film, filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Jafa (Daughters of the DustCrooklyn) begins with a question: what does it mean to be black in America in the 21st century? He composes the many troubled and troubling answers, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul & Julia Louis-Dreyfus In 6-Minute Spoof 'Barely Legal Pawn'

12 hours ago

Oh sure, we like our artsy fartsy movies, and ruminate with furrowed brows about the Oscars and the industry and whatnot. But at the end of the day, you're just as likely to find Playlist members sitting down to watch "Chopped" or "Pawn Stars." That's just how we roll. And it looks like we're not the only ones. The Emmys are next Monday, and to help get the word out, "Breaking Bad" dudes Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, along with "Veep" lead Julia Louis-Dreyfus, have put together the six-minute parody "Barely Legal Pawn." Yes, this is a reality show spoof (low hanging fruit), but the trio makes it worth your while. It finds Julia hawking her Primetime Emmy Award after a drunken late night online shopping spree finds her having to pay off her own private island, and she takes the stature to the decidedly redneck Cranston and Paul for appraisal. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Must Read: The Glossary Universal Gave Audiences To Help Them Understand David Lynch's 'Dune'

13 hours ago

Even the most ardent David Lynch fans, who support all of his films and artistic endeavors, are hard pressed to get behind "Dune." The filmmaker's lone attempt at a blockbuster is remembered for a lot of things, none of them being that it's particularly good. Lynch's supposed four-hour cut was said to be hacked down by the studio, which may explain why it's so confusing, but doesn't explain why it's boring and slow. Nor does it explain why "the spice" is repeated about five thousand times in the movie. And clearly, Universal was concerned. The story goes that the studio was (rightly) worried that audiences might be lost amid the dense terminology from Frank Hebert's novel, so they provided audiences with a glossary to help them out. The one-pager (both sides) is pretty long, so it's not clear how this would've helped anyone after the lights went down and movie started, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Casting: Mark Wahlberg Joins 'Deepwater Horizon,' Johnny Depp Flexes For Kevin Smith's 'Yoga Hosers' And More

14 hours ago

Still no sign of J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" on the fall festival slate, but while we wait to see where the film pops up (*cough* Telluride *cough*), the director is keeping busy with the lineup for his next, "Deepwater Horizon," landing none other than Mark Wahlberg for the lead role. The movie is based on a true story and will find the actor playing the "No. 2 manager on the doomed oil rig" in the movie that "revisits the acts of heroism that followed in trying to rescue men in the water, stories not known to the general public." Production starts next year. [Deadline] Giovanni Ribisi, Ty Simpkins, Scott Mescudi, Mark Feuerstein, Kevin Corrigan, and Juno Temple join Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Moss, and Natasha Lyonne in the indie "Meadowland." The film follows "Sarah and David, who deal with the unthinkable in the wake of their son's disappearance. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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A Good Day To Cry Hard: 'The Fault In Our Stars' Extended Edition On The Way

14 hours ago

While I haven't had the chance to see it yet, almost everyone I know who caught the teen weepie "The Fault In Our Stars" not only liked the movie, but admitted they reached for their hankies. Even our own Kimber Myers wrote in her review, "it's an above-average entry into the genre, broadening its appeal beyond just teenagers, fans of the original novel and those who love a good cry." Next week, you'll be able to cry longer. On August 26th, 20th Century Fox is dropping the Shailene Woodley/Ansel Englort flick on Digital HD, with two flavors: the regular theatrical version, and the Extended Edition Sob Until You Barf Edition (okay, some of that description we made up). No word yet on how much longer it runs, or what the new scenes will feature (more Euro vacation maybe? more Willem Dafoe?), or what the running time will will be, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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New Photos: Jeremy Renner In ‘Kill The Messenger,’ Mia Hansen-Løve's ‘Eden’ & More

15 hours ago

The Toronto International Film Festival made its final announcement this morning and so the fall film festival circuit geography is basically set, other than waiting for the day-of Telluride announcement, which has already been largely telegraphed by the status of Tiff and the New York Film Festival and whatever Fantastic Fest has left to offer, of course.  It's a remarkably vast playing field, with hundreds of films to choose from. With that in mind, there's lots of smaller films that aren't as name brand as say, “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington. So a few first looks and new photos have arrived from such films. But first, note a movie that surprisingly isn't at Tiff: "Kill The Messenger" starting Jeremy Renner. Directed by Michael Cuesta (a producer and director on “Homeland”), the dramatic thriller boasts quite a cast, including Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, »

- Edward Davis

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Watch: Honest Trailer For 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Shows Off Super Gymnastics

15 hours ago

In 2014, the first big comic book movie out of the gate was "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Marvel zombies flipped their lids when it arrived in theaters, giving the film the same kind of raving praise that would greet "Guardians Of The Galaxy" a few months later. But now? Time for nitpicking! Screen Junkies has dropped an Honest Trailer for 'Winter Soldier' and gets right down to business, reminding everyone that "Captain America: The First Avenger" wasn't exactly universally beloved, and was accepted into the Marvel family with a shrug. This video brings up minor quibbles and raises good points, such as the fact that Hydra appears therein without being established in any other Marvel Universe movies. Anyway, watch below. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" arrives on home video on September 9th. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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On The Rise 2014: 13 Screenwriters To Watch

15 hours ago

"'I loved 'Gravity,' but the screenplay sucked" went the relatively common refrain. We'd wager that the people who said that were often the same who expressed confusion when silent film "The Artist" was nominated for an Oscar nomination for its original screenplay. You can find fault with the writing in "Gravity" and "The Artist," but if you enjoyed both, that's in large part down to the writing, and the popular conception that writers are responsible only for the dialogue is just one of the reasons that screenwriting remains one of the most misunderstood and curiously unsung aspects of filmmaking. Too often, writers are ridden roughshod over during production, overlooked by the press and forgotten when the reviews and awards come pouring in (if they do). And yet thousands still set out to make their living as writers, because the rewards for the lucky few who do make it to »

- The Playlist Staff

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Watch: First 3 Minutes From 'Doomed! The Untold Story Of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four'

16 hours ago

First it was “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” a documentary regarding raconteur Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed adaptation of “Dune." Next was the forthcoming look at Tim Burton’s aborted take on Superman. Now another documentary focuses on the infamous Roger Corman-executive-produced rendition of “The Fantastic Four.” Directed by Marty Langford, “Doomed! The Untold Story Of Roger Corman’s ‘The Fantastic Four’” has rounded up interviews with all the key players of the 1994 D-movie, including the main cast alongside director Oley Sassone, editor Glenn Garland, Corman himself and Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, among many others, telling the story of an infamous production reportedly made to cling to franchise rights but that was never released theatrically and was initially only seen via bootlegs. The opening minutes of the documentary surprisingly don’t rely on making fun of the unreleased film but instead seems to be genuinely interested »

- Cain Rodriguez

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Watch: 11-Minute 'The Film Before The Film' About The History Of Opening Credits

16 hours ago

Like artful movie posters, opening title sequences have been largely cast aside by an increasingly stats-obsessed studio system that cares little for the long and storied cinematic tradition. Sure, there are a few that still practice and revere the art —hello David Fincher and Edgar Wright— but if a credit sequence is made at all, it’s bumped to the end, as is the case with most blockbusters. A short documentary, “The Film Before The Film,” has been making the rounds online and it serves as both an introduction to and a welcome reminder of the power of opening credits. At just under twelve minutes, the short by Nora Thös and Damian Pérez takes the viewer from Thomas Edison‘s utilitarian use of a text board in 1897 to show his company’s name and copyright note through to Saul Bass’ iconic work and finally ending with Gaspar Noe’s infamous »

- Cain Rodriguez

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Watch: Get A Blast From The '90s With Trailer For Lifetime’s 'The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story'

17 hours ago

Hold on to your hats! It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Lifetime has posted its first trailer for “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story,” and it promises all of the ego, attitude and adolescent drama you’d want in a behind the scenes look at the making of the splashy '90s Saturday morning sitcom. Inspired by but not based on the 2009 book “Behind The Bell,” which was written by actor Dustin (Screech) Diamond, it’s unclear how far this will delve into scandal, but the memoir was apparently filled with sex and drugs, inciting the ire of some of his costars. Diamond serves as a co-producer on the film, which will star Sam Kindseth in the Diamond role, along with Dylan Everett (Mark-Paul Gosselaar / Zack), Alyssa Lynch (Tiffani Thiessen / Kelly), Julian Works (Mario Lopez / Slater), Tiera Skovbye (Elizabeth Berkley / Jessie) and Taylor Russell McKenzie »

- Tess Hofmann

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Watch: New Trailer For Brad Pitt's Wii Drama 'Fury' With Shia Labeouf, Logan Lerman & More

17 hours ago

“It sort of exploded out,” filmmaker David Ayer said about his latest film. “I wrote it for me.” Ayer’s kept largely inside the domain of police films thus far ("S.W.A.T.," "Street Kings," "End Of Watch"), but for his next trick, he’s taking on a WWII drama starring Brad Pitt. And if you think "so what? Pitt’s already done a WWII movie with Quentin Tarantino" (“Inglourious Basterds”), note that Ayer’s “Fury” sounds vastly different. What’s the film like? In a long feature in the New York Times recently, the movie was described as a “relentlessly authentic portrayal of the extremes endured, and inflicted, by Allied troops who entered Germany in the spring of 1945.” Intriguingly, the Times also say the movie “promises to be one of the most daring studio movies in an awards season.” Here’s the official synopsis: April 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, »

- Edward Davis

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First Look: Paul Rudd Goes Gritty In 'Ant-Man'

17 hours ago

"The way technology has advanced just in the last few years, picturing this world, what they can do with this kind of storyline and character, I thought this could be something that could be very strange and hasn't been seen before," Paul Rudd told USA Today about taking on Marvel's "Ant-Man." "I was really excited about being a part of something like that." And just one day after production started, the comic studio just released the first official image from the movie, and it's surprisingly gritty. But we suspect you don't have to worry about "Ant-Man" indulging in Christopher Nolan-style brooding. The script got a punch-up by funnyman Adam McKay, comedian Gregg Turkington is among the eclectic cast, and  remember, "Iron Man 3" looked pretty grimy and realistic at first, but still turned out be a quippy, off-the-cuff movie. We'll see when "Ant-Man" opens on July 17, 2015. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: 2 'Maze Runner' Clips Plus Featurette Flesh Out Film’s Castaway Vibe

18 hours ago

The Maze Runner” has already been criticized for conforming to the alternate universe Ya template that has failed so many other “Hunger Games” imitators. But there are differences. Those films have basically fallen into two camps, with dystopian future social commentaries on one side (“The Giver,” “Divergent,” “The Hunger Games,”) and witch and vampire fantasies on the other (“The Mortal Instruments,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “Twilight”). While this film leans more toward the dystopian aspect, it also evokes a primitive, marooned society of almost all-male island castaways along the lines of “Lord of the Flies.” In two new clips, one featuring an intro by series author James Dashner and the other a featurette, we get a peek at a test-of-strength hazing ritual in The Glade, as well as an explanation of the ritual's rules (where protagonist Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) also finds himself with no memory of his past). "Do your part. »

- Tess Hofmann

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Casting: Bradley Cooper & Todd Phillips To Reteam For 'Mack Bolan,' Keanu Reeves Gets Wet In 'Rain' & More

19 hours ago

Todd Phillips and Bradley Cooper continue to bro out in a big way. The two are producing the director's next film, "Arms & The Dudes," recently picked up the rights to Evan Ratliff's The Atavist article "A Thousand Pounds Of Dynamite," and today have announced they'll  bring to life Don Pendelton's paperback action star Mack Bolan. Phillips will direct and Cooper will star. Shane Salerno ("Savages," "Avatar 4") is writing the script about the elite commando dude, but production will only start once his work on James Cameron's series is done. And oh yeah, this will be a PG-13 effort all the way. [Deadline] Keanu Reeves will star in the TV series "Rain," based on the work of writer Barry Eisler. Reeves takes the lead role of "John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American contract assassin who struggles to find an identity beyond being a killer" in addition to producing the show. »


- Kevin Jagernauth

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Tiff 2014 Adds 'St. Vincent,' 'Winter Sleep' Plus New Films By Martin Scorsese, James Franco And More

19 hours ago

It's just two weeks to go until the Toronto International Film Festival, and organizers are putting the final touches on the lineup. Sorry, still no sign of Terrence Malick. Today comes even more highlights added to the Tiff slate: The hugely buzzed, Bill Murray starring "St. Vincent" will make its world premiere; Palme d'Or winner "Winter Sleep" gets its North American debut; James Franco's "The Sound And The Fury" crosses the pond from Venice; Martin Scorsese's doc "The 50 Year Argument" arrives in Canada; and other movies to keep an eye on include efforts from Ross Katz, Julie Taymor and more. Tiff runs from September 4-14. Additions to the lineup below. Mavericks Conversation With… Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua Denzel Washington is one of the film world’s most prominent leading men, known best for his galvanizing portrayals of both real-life figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster) and fictional. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: First Trailer For Jason Reitman’s ‘Men, Women & Children’ Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner & More

19 hours ago

Director Jason Reitman was said to have taken his loss of an Oscar for Best Screenplay for “Up In The Air”  pretty hard in 2010. Along with co-writer Sheldon Turner, he had won the WGA award, which is usually a good sign that the Oscar machine seemed would deliver similarly, but Geoffrey Fletcher won for “Precious." Reitman's “Young Adult” arrived the following year but proved too pitch-black for Oscar voters. And when Reitman stumbled a little bit with the tonally difficult “Labor Day” last year, the filmmaker shrugged it off and mounted a new film right away. His latest “Men, Women & Children” is another dramedy and is bound for a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Not a lot has been known about the movie apart from the fact that it’s a poignant look at the many ways that the internet has changed the relationships between teenagers and their parents. »

- Edward Davis

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