Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

Sundance Review: Less 'Wrong' Than Bad, Quentin Dupieux's Followup To 'Rubber' Proves Him To Be A Half-Hit Wonder

  • By James Rocchi
  • |
  • January 23, 2012 7:10 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Received at film fests and among cult cinema fans with the giddy glee of an inside joke, Quentin Dupieux's "Rubber" was a film more celebrated than ultimately worthy of celebration. Dupieux's piss-take on '70s killer-car horror (and, by extension, all cinema) as a psychic rubber tire self-motivated itself through the American West, sporadically killing people telekinetically, felt to me like a short film larded up with unrequired bulk -- or, as I may have tweeted at the time, " 'Rubber' rolls along for a while, starts wobbling, then goes flat." "Wrong," premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, was a chance to see what Dupieux could really do. And what he can really do is not direct.

Sundance Review: Spike Lee Reconnects With His Artistic Voice With The Emotionally Devastating 'Red Hook Summer'

  • By Todd Gilchrist
  • |
  • January 23, 2012 6:55 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
It’s hard to say how long it’s been since Spike Lee was as ambitious, and as focused, as he is on “Red Hook Summer.” Telling a story that evokes “Crooklyn” in its depiction of children coming of age, filtered through two subsequent decades of his professional successes and failures, not to mention an era of black cinema dominated by the iconography of filmmakers like Tyler Perry, Lee’s latest film is a return to the incendiary form that made his name in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, as it examines life in a Brooklyn housing project through the eyes of a preteen who’s forced to spend the summer with his ministerial grandfather. Overlong but consequently understated – perhaps more so than in any film he’s ever made - as its didactic and yet discursive tale builds to a devastating emotional crescendo, “Red Hook Summer” is not just Spike Lee’s most authentically “Spike Lee” film in more than a decade, but a remarkable display of a filmmaker reconnecting with his artistic voice.

Sundance Review: Mark Webber's 'The End of Love' Moves With Minor-Key Moments & Undersold Skill

  • By James Rocchi
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 11:21 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Written, directed by and starring Mark Webber -- whose acting filmography runs from "Kids" to "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" -- "The End of Love" is hardly a work of revelation. At the same time, it's surprisingly well-executed, nicely performed and manages to combine a warm and gentle sense of the rhythms of life with a cold and bright-eyed look at the world and its lead's flaws and character. Following his earlier directorial effort, "Explicit Ills," Webber plays Mark, an aspiring actor and successful fuck-up. We see him woken by his two-and-a-half-year-old son, Isaac (Isaac Love). Mark asks Isaac what he wants for breakfast -- cereal? Isaac is intent: "Oatmeal." Mark shoots him an askance glance: "But oatmeal takes longer than cereal, buddy.…"

Ashley Bell Returns For 'The Last Exorcism' Sequel, Film To Be Completed By The End Of 2012

  • By Benjamin Wright
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 1:26 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
It’s long been said you shouldn’t mess with a good thing, and those looking to capitalize on the success of the recent wave of found footage films should heed that advice.

Weekend Box Office: 'Underworld: Awakening' Sucks Its Way To #1, While 'Red Tails' Shoots Into #2

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 12:08 PM
  • |
  • 9 Comments
If there was ever a weekend that better illustrated the divide between audience and critics, we certainly can't remember it. Following a financially successful franchise pattern thus far, "Underworld: Awakening" joined the other films in the series in opening to over $20 million. In the grand scheme of this vampires vs. werewolves franchise, this opening comes in lower than the second installment, but a shade beyond the first and third.

Alex Winter Discusses His 1993 Cult Hit 'Freaked,' Says 'Bill & Ted 3' A Long Way Off From Happening

  • By Cory Everett
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 11:59 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Cult films come in all shapes and sizes. Some hit right out of the gate with a small but rabid audience while others are discovered by that audience over a longer period of time. Somehow both are these scenarios are true for Alex Winter and Tom Stern’s gloriously gonzo “Freaked.” Initially pegged as a mainstream comedy by Fox - with a planned wide release that included action figures and Gap campaign skewering posters - the film was basically dumped by Fox after head Joe Roth, who had greenlit the project, left the studio but picked up raves at TIFF and has been winning fans over ever since. But the film, featuring ugly little trolls and mutating movie stars, is so far outside the mainstream, it’s hard to imagine it having been a big hit even if it was carrying both stars of the blockbuster ‘Bill & Ted’ films. (Though technically, Keanu Reeves was unbilled and unrecognizable in full dog boy makeup.)

Sundance Review: 'Indie Game: The Movie' Is A Big-Hearted Celebration Of Artistic Spirit

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 11:13 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
The most profoundly moving moment of “Indie Game: The Movie” arrives an hour and twenty minutes into this terrific documentary. As designer Edmund McMillen watches YouTube videos of people spurting out expletives while playing his game Super Meat Boy, the kind-faced man breaks into a glowing smile. He’s made that connection, reached out to people and has been reaffirmed by their love for his brainchild. It’s the glimpse of a blinding sun at the end of a long, cold road, and 'Indie Game,' directed by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, is filled with moments that lay bare the emotional stakes of game design and development, an art that remains vastly underrated by the mainstream. Possibly the most mature look at video games yet, and a fine documentary in its own right, “Indie Game: The Movie” serves not only to erase the image of the programmer as a pimple-anointed malcontent recluse, but levels the playing field, serving as a powerful document for why games deserve consideration as a legitimate artform.

Steven Soderbergh: The Complete Playlist Interview

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 10:56 AM
  • |
  • 6 Comments
Anyone who's heard him at a Q&A, been present for one of his lectures, or even listened to a commentary knows one thing about Steven Soderbergh; he's a great conversationalist. Some filmmakers can barely talk about their own work, but a discussion with Soderbergh won't just involve him talking candidly about his own process and films, but also anything that happens to come up.

Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga To Star In James Wan's 'The Conjuring'

  • By Benjamin Wright
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 10:47 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
While he’s never exactly made a standout horror film, director James Wan, the mastermind along with co-writer Leigh Whannel behind the “Saw” franchise, inched a little closer to something truly compelling with 2011’s “Insidious.” It’s a film that the Playlist didn’t exactly love, but it went on to become one of the most profitable films of 2011, as well as feature a fine ensemble that elevated Wan’s typically B-level casting with the likes of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey.

John Krasinski Talks Overnight Hiring Of Gus Van Sant For New Film With Matt Damon, Shooting Starts In April

  • By Jeff Otto
  • |
  • January 22, 2012 10:28 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
The good news? John Krasinski’s as-yet-unnamed project he co-wrote and will co-star in with Matt Damon has a start date: April 2012. The bad news? We still don’t have a frickin’ clue what it’s about.

Email Updates

Recent Comments