The Playlist

Sundance Review: 'Shadow Dancer' A Crackling Conspiracy Thriller

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 25, 2012 3:09 PM
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If “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” represented the height of Cold War paranoia within the British intelligence community, then “Shadow Dancer” is the next chapter, replacing the ominous Russian government with a more localized threat: The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Sundance: Mark Webber Talks Working With His Son On 'The End Of Love' & How The Michael Cera Scene Came Together

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 25, 2012 3:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Every artist takes inspiration from their personal life, but for Mark Webber, making his sophomore directorial effort, “The End of Love,” he didn't have leave home to find his muse. The film, which opened over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, focuses on a character named Mark and his two-year old son Issac; which is a coincidence since it stars Mark and his then-two-year-old son Issac. While not exactly a cinematic autobiography, like Webber's previous film, "Explicit Ills," which focused on the Philadelpha neighborhood he grew up, it allows the writer/director to approach a variety and thematic and narrative material with palpable sense of realism.

Sundance Review: The South Will Rise, But Not Like You Expected, In The Pagan, Powerful 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 25, 2012 2:31 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Written and directed by Benh Zeitlin, whose short, "Glory at Sea," was shot through with purpose and promise, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is as stirring and striking a film as you could wish for at Sundance. Shot and set in a Louisiana community called The Bathtub, on the wrong side of the levees that stop the water from encroaching on civilization, it's at heart the story of a little girl, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who lives with her father Wink (Dwight Henry). That synopsis does not do the film justice, though, as the story -- based on a play by Lucy Alibar -- incorporates a flood that not only drowns The Bathtub but also huge, prehistoric beasts -- Aurochs -- returning to life from the frozen icecaps and stalking, gigantically, towards Hushpuppy's world. It's a flawed comparison -- and indeed, any comparison for a work as completely and startlingly unique as this will be flawed -- but I kept imagining "Beasts of the Southern Wild" as a pagan, powerful, Godless (but not loveless or hopeless) variation on "The Tree of Life," where parents and children cope with the passage of time and the end of life in a series of moments built as much on visual poetry as character interactions.

Sundance Review: '2 Days In New York' A Funny & Welcome Sequel Worthy Of Its Predecessor

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 25, 2012 2:18 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Taking place a few years after “Two Days in Paris,” with the events from that film summed up in a puppet show, Jack (played Adam Goldberg) is gone and Marion (Delpy) lives in New York with her boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock), and their respective children from previous relationships. Both lead artistic New York lives as Marion is about to open a photo exhibit and Mingus is writing for the Village Voice along with hosting two radio shows. Marion's father Jeannot (Albert Delpy) and sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) are coming to New York to spend time as a family following the death of Marion's mother. The promise of foreign customs and crazy old men is fulfilled the second we meet Dad, locked in customs and removing the sausages he strapped to his chest.

Nick Cave Scoring 'West Of Memphis,' Laura Veirs Tunes Up 'Hello I Must Be Going' & More Sundance Sounds

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 25, 2012 1:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
While Park City continues to buzz with celebs and films and the festival heads into its final weekend, let's take a moment take our eyes off the movies, and instead open up our ears. As it turns out, a good handful of the movies at the Sundance Film Festival are being powered by the music of some pretty impressive performers.

'The Hangover Part III' Moving Closer To A Summer Shoot, Memorial Day 2013 Release Being Eyed

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 25, 2012 1:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The Wolfpack is (almost) back. Following the over $580 million worldwide succes of the R-rated comedy sequel, Warner Bros. are very eager to get Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms back for the third and final installment. And they are willnig to pay big bucks to make it happen.

Sundance: Mary Elizabeth Winstead On Playing An Alcoholic In 'Smashed' And Working With Roman Coppola & Charlie Sheen

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 25, 2012 1:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Every year, Sundance provides a massive career boost to a handful of people. Sometimes it's a total newcomer -- think of Carey Mulligan, or Elizabeth Olsen in recent years -- who suddenly find themselves on every casting wishlist around.

Lena Headey & Ethan Hawke To Star In Low-Budget Sci-Fi Thriller 'Vigilandia'; Ron Livingston & Lili Taylor Join James Wan's 'The Conjuring'

  • By Simon Dang
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  • January 25, 2012 12:42 PM
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  • 0 Comments
2012 has only just begun, but if the box office so far proves anything, it's that low-budget, well-marketed genre fare still and will probably always sell. After the rise of the "Paranormal Activity" series a few years ago and the title of 2011's Most Profitable Movie falling to "Insidious," William Brent Bell's "The Devil Inside" exploded on the January 6th weekend with a $34.5 million opening and has now broken the $50 million mark all on a tiny $1 million production budget. Mind you, this is all despite the fact it holds a measly 7% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Joe Wright's 'Anna Karenina' Shot On A Single Location, Promises Experimental Approach To A Familiar Story

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 25, 2012 12:31 PM
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  • 8 Comments
After taking a major left-turn with last year's pop-art action fairy tale "Hanna," some were a little disappointed to see that Joe Wright was seemingly going back to his wheel house, returning to Working Title Films for another period literary adaptation starring Keira Knightley, in the tradition of first and second films, "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement." While his take on Leo Tolstoy's classic "Anna Karenina" has an incredibly prestigious team and cast -- a script from Tom Stoppard, and a roster including Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Matthew Macfayden, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams and Domnhall Gleeson -- it was hard to see it as anything other than lush, pretty costume drama Oscar bait.

Sundance: Melanie Lynskey Talks Making 'Hello I Must Be Going,' Teases 'Perks' & 'Seeking A Friend'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 25, 2012 11:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments
The term "undersung" gets thrown around a lot, but it definitely applies to the talented Melanie Lynskey. The actress first wowed both audiences and critics in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures," and while her star hasn't exactly risen to the same degree as Kate Winslet, she's amassed no less impressive of a resume as Lynskey can count Clint Eastwood, Steven Soderbergh, Jason Reitman and Sam Mendes among those she's worked with. She's earned a reputation as an ace supporting player, but soon that all may change, with opportunities sure to open up for bigger roles, thanks to "Hello I Must Be Going."

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