The Playlist

Review: Steven Knight's 'Locke' Starring Tom Hardy Is An Impressive Achievement

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 23, 2014 5:06 PM
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Locke Tom Hardy
Of all the genres, the single location film is perhaps one of the hardest to get right. For one, you need a hell of an actor (or actors) to hold the attention for even the briefest of running times. You also need a story that coherently keeps the actors in place, with enough of a hook to keep you involved. And you need to keep things visually interesting enough to stop it being too static without being showy. It’s a big ask, Hitchcock was the master of the style, and there are a select few other examples, but most turn out poorly.

Tribeca Review: Bizarre German Thriller 'Der Samurai'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 23, 2014 4:18 PM
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Der Samurai
The fear of otherness drives most horror movies, since what we can't explain (or choose not to) also happens to be very, very scary. For the East Germany villagers in "Der Samurai," a truly bizarre, utterly nightmarish horror thriller, they know what's out there: wolves. Wolves stalk the surrounding forests and occasionally come into the village, overturning trashcans and menacing local pets. But there is something even more menacing that comes out of the woods one night: a transvestite, in a pristine white dress (almost like a wedding gown), wielding a samurai sword. And this samurai wreaks a lot more havoc than any wolf ever could.

Tribeca Review: ‘Electric Slide’ Starring Jim Sturgess, Isabel Lucas & Chloe Sevigny

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 23, 2014 3:02 PM
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The Electric Slide
Eddie Dodson (Jim Sturgess) is a dandyish incorrigible playboy. He parties, indulges in blow and comes and goes as he pleases with an insouciant urbane air. And while his chic antique store is a hit in L.A., even attracting local celebrities, Dodson is dead broke. Sleeping with bored and disenfranchised rich socialites doesn’t pay the bills either. His drug habit seems manageable, but what is no longer tenable is the deep debt he owes to ruthless, local loan sharks whose patience has run dry. Faced with no other options – these gangsters will rub Dodson out if he doesn’t bring their dough – the desperate but charming swindler decides to rob banks.

Tribeca Review: 'Glass Chin' Starring Corey Stoll, Billy Crudup & Kelly Lynch

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 23, 2014 2:06 PM
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Glass Chin
Bud Gordon coulda been a contendah. They called him “The Saint,” and Bud had it all. But as promising as Bud’s boxing career and talents were, he had an Achilles heel, or rather, a glass chin. So when the glove connected with kisser, Bud went down like a stone. Now, fallen on hard times and living in New Jersey instead of Manhattan, the down-on-his-luck Bud and his live-in girlfriend Ellen no longer live the glamorous life. In fact, they now live in a rather begrimed apartment and the realities of everyday life have hit them hard. But despite it all, Bud still dreams of regaining past glories. Maybe not getting his boxing career up and running, as that ship has passed. But the desire for some kind of redemption burns as bright as his competitive spirit once did.

Tribeca Review: 'Boulevard' Starring Robin Williams, Kathy Baker And Bob Odenkirk

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 23, 2014 1:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Robin Williams, Boulevard'
In life, things are taken from you. When you experience loss of a spouse or maybe a pet or even an acquaintance, you struggle to grab onto something solid that makes you whole, just as your world is being chipped away. The opening moments of “Boulevard” find Robin Williams' Nolan tending to his bed-ridden father as the image fades in and out. The effect is not over some life-or-death last minute procedure, but of his debates with the doctor over his father's caffeine intake. Often, what is taken from us occurs in the most mundane of ways.

Tribeca Review: 'Miss Meadows' Starring Katie Homes And James Badge Dale

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 23, 2014 10:05 AM
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Miss Meadows
Moviegoers who are slaves to genre aren't going to have much love for the legitimately out-of-control “Miss Meadows." This whatsit begins with a prim and proper maiden talking to CGI squirrels and birds before firing a pistol into the throat of an obvious sex offender in the middle of a sunny suburban street. The victim isn't sleazy enough to be funny, the violence is too glib to be serious, and there's, overall, a jarring divide occurring here. Immediately, the knee-jerk reaction is to say this doesn't work.

Review: Terrifying, Suspenseful Thriller 'Blue Ruin'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2014 6:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Blue Ruin
Dwight (Macon Blair), the lead character of “Blue Ruin,” is a haggard, defeated, middle-aged man. His clothing clings to him, as if to avoid callously slipping to the ground. His beard seems to have formed on his face the way weeds gather on undernourished lawns. One of our first glimpses of his eyes come from the way they gape when he finds out people are home, and he’s naked in the bath. His mad dash reveals this is not his house. But those eyes remain troubled even when he’s not using the homes and resources of others. The sense is that Dwight hasn’t been home for years, and he hasn’t felt at home within himself for even longer.

Tribeca Review: Amy Berg’s ‘Every Secret Thing’ Starring Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning & Diane Lane

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 22, 2014 5:38 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Pitched somewhere between a David Fincher crime procedural, a Denis Lehane suspense novel and a “Mommie Dearest” melodrama, documentarian Amy Berg’s move into the feature-length world of dramatic narrative is by nature of the material, an uneven one. It’s not for want of trying, however. Making her narrative debut here, Berg directs the hell out of every crime segment in the film, and there’s a strong level of craft in sequences that would make Fincher and “Se7en” DP Darius Khondji proud. And Nicole Holofcener’s adaptation of the book doesn’t have any real egregious material, at least not in its dialogue.

Tribeca Review: Incendiary Political Documentary '1971'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2014 11:25 AM
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1971
On March 8th, 1971, the Citizens Committee To Investigate The FBI convened to break into FBI offices in Media, Pennsylvania. The result, as the new documentary “1971” dares to argue, is a significant, but temporary shift in an ongoing struggle between the general public and the government, one that has waged since war overseas has dared society to question their very own neighbors. The film doesn't bother to hold your hand: if you're an American willing to place blind faith in your elected officials and anyone with a badge, you're not going to cotton to what this film has to show you.

Tribeca Review: Mental Illness Drama 'Gabriel' Starring Rory Culkin

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 22, 2014 10:20 AM
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Gabriel, Rory Culkin
When "Gabriel," the debut feature from writer/director Lou Howe, begins, it seems like any other romantic drama about two young people who are very in love. Our title character (Rory Culkin) takes a bus out to his girlfriend's dorm. He bangs on her door, a wadded up piece of a letter balled in his fist. When a different girl answers, she informs him that the girl he is looking for doesn't live there, especially when he tells her that the address on the envelope is several years old. "This is a freshman dorm," the girl says. And that's when it becomes very clear that this movie is not your typical romantic drama; it's far more unhinged than that.

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