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The Playlist

Tribeca Review: 'Free Samples' Isn't Worth Buying

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 22, 2012 8:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments
For some reason independent movies, especially the current wave of mumble-core with its earthy existentialism and waxy photographic quality, have the reputation of somehow being more “real” or “honest” than movies in the mainstream. Because these smaller movies arrive at some emotional truth more directly, they don’t have to dodge movie stars or CGI monsters. But watching a movie like USC grad Jay Gammill's “Free Samples,” which proudly wears its indie-ness on its sleeve like a badge of honor (when it’s really more of a disfiguring war wound), all you get are feelings of artificiality. It’s so phony and forced and cloying and cute, that you wonder how anyone could misdiagnose a movie like this as being more representative of the human experience than, say, something with werewolves or Tom Cruise.

Tribeca Review: Lightweight '30s British Romance 'Cheerful Weather For The Wedding' Mostly Wastes Its Young Stars

  • By Cory Everett
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  • April 22, 2012 8:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There's nothing more frustrating than wasting talent. Seeing a promising young filmmaker turn in a movie that just doesn't work is as disappointing as seeing a good cast squandered by lesser material. Unfortunately, both are common but unavoidable side effects of attending film festivals and the latter is true of "Cheerful Weather For The Wedding," a lightweight British romance which had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. The film squanders not one but two young actors who turned in breakout performances in two of last year's most acclaimed indies. "Like Crazy" lead Felicity Jones stars as Dolly, an anxious bride on the day of her wedding while "Attack The Block" thesp Luke Treadaway is Joseph, an old friend and possibly unrequited romance. We meet the bride-to-be getting sick with nerves and swigging rum in her room while Joseph shows up early to wish the bride well and possibly just try to run away with her before the nuptials. Oh yes, this is that movie.

Tribeca Review: Upsetting, Eye-Opening 'The Revisionists' Draws Pivotal Line In The Sand In Regard To Education

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2012 6:19 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Where to start when discussing something like "The Revisionaries," a film that's really only controversial if you feel the idea to provide an idiot with a pulpit to preach from is a good one? The doc follows the fifteen-person Texas Board Of Education, an organization dedicated to reforming the state's high school textbooks over the course of a few years, allowing for a host of politically-motivated edits. You see where this is going.

Review: 'Ballroom Dancer' A Fascinating Dance Doc About The Quest For Perfection & Recapturing Past Glory

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2012 4:36 PM
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  • 0 Comments
“Ballroom Dancer” begins with black-and-white footage of dancer Slavik Kryklyvyy in 2000, on top of the world and dominating the World Latin Dance Championships. Kryklyvyy is lithe and seductive at the age of 24, slicing through routines with his equally skilled partner and lover Joanna Leunis. With his high cheekbones, piercing eyes, and a matinee-idol handsomeness that puts Johnny Depp to shame, he seems almost built from the ground up for success.

Tribeca Review: 'Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie' Is The Sleaze-Filled Celebration He Deserves

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2012 3:44 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A charlatan, a ringmaster, and, at his most charitable, an irresponsible pig. This was Morton Downey Jr., and “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” is probably the film he deserved. Destined to provoke knowing nods from his fanbase, and predictable tsk-tsks from his detractors, “Evocateur” examines the seeds that were planted in the late eighties when “The Morton Downey Jr. Show” hit the airwaves to a cacophony of pop culture noise.

Watch: A Synchronized Collage Of Every Zoom In Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 21, 2012 3:11 PM
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  • 8 Comments
There are many reasons why Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" is a masterpiece of modern horror, from Jack Nicholson's performance as Jack Torrance, the writer whose mind is slowly unraveling into madness, to the carefully established tone of slow dread. But as usual, Kubrick's unwavering eye behind the camera plays a big part in the mood and feel of the film.

Review: 'The Day He Arrives' Languidly Strives For Poignancy

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • April 21, 2012 2:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The primary reason why "Groundhog Day" works (besides the casting, pacing, easygoing charm and humor) is that the little town of Punxsutawney is the physical embodiment of what we all feel occasionally: a startling inability, even for a moment, to tell one day from the next. Call it a forced sense of deja vu, it's what Seongjun (Jun-Sang Yu), the lead of Hong Sang-soo's patient and trying "The Day He Arrives" is experiencing.

Jaden Smith Pulls A Taylor Lautner, Lines Up Teen Assassin Flick 'Boy Nobody'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 21, 2012 2:27 PM
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  • 11 Comments
It's not easy to shake-off the wholesome teen heartthrob image to transition into a "serious actor" but generally, young thesps try (and often fail) to do something gritty to prove their skills. Just look at the kids in the "Twilight" series. Kristen Stewart has arguably done better than the rest of her co-stars, playing a young prostitute in "Welcome To The Rileys" and Joan Jett in "The Runaways," while Robert Pattinson missed with the weepie "Remember Me" and will try again by fucking Juliette Binoche in a limo in David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis." But the biggest whiff goes to Taylor Lautner whose Bourne-style action thriller "Abduction" tanked and at the same time kiboshed any chance he had of leading "Stretch Armstrong." He's now going to take a role in "Grown Ups 2." Well, now another young actor is hoping to step into the big time and he's taken a page from the dubious Lautner playbook.

Gorgeous First Look At Carlos Reygadas’ Cannes Contender 'Post Tenebras Lux'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 21, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
While starrier films like Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," Jacques Audiard's "Rust And Bone," David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly" and John Hillcoat's "Lawless" got the most attention when the Cannes Film Festival unveiled their lineup this week -- and not without good reason -- more discerning cinephiles also found reason to celebrate as well. "Post Tenebras Lux," the long-awaited new film from Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, was confirmed to be playing In Competition.

Tribeca Review: 'Jack And Diane' An Unsatisfying & Empty Relationship Movie

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 21, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Though the descriptor "werewolf-lesbian-psycho-drama" piqued immense interest when word first got out, Bradley Rust Gray's "Jack And Diane" doesn't follow through on its weirdo/intriguing premise. Little work is done from the get-go to make the emotional connection between the titular characters feel believable (a huge error considering the movie's core is based around this relationship), and without that rational groundwork, the film feels forced and hollow for most of its duration.

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