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The Playlist

Review: 'Man On A Ledge' Steps Over The Edge Into B-Movie Ridiculousness

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2012 9:32 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) climbs out of a widow gets on the ledge of the Roosevelt Hotel, right in the middle of Manhattan, his life has so gone to shit you can believe he's ready to end it. Having recently escaped custody while attending his father's funeral, Nick has already spent two years in a jail for a crime he didn't commit, the theft of a valuable jewel. His appeals have run out and he's facing a considerable stretch at Sing Sing, narrowing his choices down to whiling in a cell block or splattered on a literal street block. But that suspension of disbelief only goes so far, because unless it's Gwyneth Paltrow lying on a gurney, few movies are gonna have the lead die this early on. So Nick's job is not to convince us, but the cops who have quickly flooded into the hotel and onto the street below, that he wants to kill himself. And so begins "Man On A Ledge," which starts off as a promising compact little thriller, but eventually unravels into something far more conventional and absurd.

Bret Easton Ellis Penning Microbudget Noir For Paul Schrader, Wants Porn Star James Deen To Star

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 23, 2012 9:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Could shock-novelist Bret Easton Ellis' next detour lead him down some dark alleyways with the writer of "Taxi Driver"? If Ellis' topsy-turvy Twitter account (via ONTD) is to be believed, he's working on an "L.A. noir micro budget Paul Schrader movie." And he's got an interesting, NSFW Google search lead in mind.

Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Reynolds To Star In Tim Burton-Produced Drama 'Big Eyes'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 23, 2012 9:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Next month will be an important one for Ryan Reynolds and Reese Witherspoon. The former is bruised after a pair of summer flops last year, "Green Lantern" and "The Change-Up," and will be hoping to cement his A-list status opposite Denzel Washington in "Safe House," while the latter hasn't had an unqualified hit since "Four Christmases" in 2008, and is hoping to turn that around by starring opposite Tom Hardy and Chris Pine in McG's "This Means War." But while they wait for their blockbuster drawing power to be tested, the pair are planning to team up for the first time for a project with more serious intent.

Sundance Review: 'Lay The Favorite' A Comedy That's An Empty Bet

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 23, 2012 8:11 AM
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  • 3 Comments
“You can't blame Stephen Frears for trying” seems to be the mantra for "Lay the Favorite," a mild romp through the T&A world of Las Vegas, gambling and literary adaptation. After all, "High Fidelity" is an iconic film to obsessive nerds (Need proof? See: every listicle on the Internet) and Frears is no slouch to crafting strong and/or sexy female characters (Tamara Drew, Cherí, The Queen). But what happens when he tries to mash them up and form the unholy love child of a stat geek and a bubbly idiot savant who used to be a stripper?

Sundance Review: 'Simon Killer' Loses That Lovin' Feeling On The Streets Of Paris

  • By William Goss
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  • January 23, 2012 7:32 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Simon (Brady Corbet) is lost. After being dumped by his high school sweetheart after a relationship that ran the length of their college years, the newly graduated, newly single American flees to Paris to get away from it all and find himself. Of course, the problem with undertaking such a journey of self-discovery is assuming that one will like what they find…

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

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 23, 2012 7:10 AM
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  • 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
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  • January 23, 2012 6:55 AM
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  • 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
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  • January 22, 2012 11:21 PM
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  • 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
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  • January 22, 2012 1:26 PM
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  • 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
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  • January 22, 2012 12:08 PM
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  • 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.

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