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The Playlist

Tribeca Review: ‘Big Bad Wolves’ Is A Deeply Brilliant, Surprisingly Funny Israeli Revenge Thriller

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 22, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Big Bad Wolves
Back in 2009, “Let the Right One In,” a slick, deeply felt genre piece from a far away land, played the Tribeca Film Festival and blew almost everyone (this writer included) away. It’s hard not to think about “Let the Right One In” while watching “Big Bad Wolves,” a similarly slick foreign language thriller playing at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It’s questionable whether or not “Big Bad Wolves” will receive the kind of attention “Let the Right One In” did (its subject matter is significantly stickier than two young vampires falling in love), but it’s every bit the triumph that film was – it’s bold, beautifully told, and surprisingly funny.

Tribeca Review: Neil LaBute Goes Back To Basics In Spartan, Scintillating 'Some Velvet Morning'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2013 10:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
When filmmakers find themselves in a rough place, they tend to dial back their productions, usually by necessity, but also as a refresher course in refueling the creative spirit. Playwright Neil LaBute has had a rough go of it in his last few big-screen adventures: "Lakeview Terrace" was a half-baked contemporary thriller clearly made to fill the personal coffers, though one could argue it reflected an intriguing take on contemporary race relations in suburban communities. And remaking "Death At A Funeral" nearly shot-for-shot was always going to be a thankless task. The fact that these two films followed the misunderstood-but-still-questionable "Wicker Man" remake seems to point to a creative force in decline, at least onscreen -- LaBute remains active in the world of shorts and stage, where his reputation has yet to be sullied.

Review & Recap: Khaleesi Fires It Up in 'Game Of Thrones' Season 3 Episode 4 'And Now His Watch Is Ended'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 21, 2013 9:00 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Game Of Thrones - Daenerys Targaryen - Season 3
Hello again everyone. In light of this past week’s events, I have to just jump up on this soapbox for a hot minute, so please humor me. I think that it’s an unfortunate coincidence, but also a relevant one to consider, when last Sunday night we experienced the brutal amputation to close out “Game of Thrones,” and then on Monday afternoon were forced to grapple with the shocking reality of amputation in the wake of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing. The graphic images of the bombing’s aftermath shattered our screens, in Tumblr dashboards and Facebook newsfeeds, and offered a sobering reality to the images of gore we experienced the night before on HBO. I don’t condemn “Game of Thrones” for showing us violence and gore, because violence and gore confronts us on the news everyday. To relegate violence to a fantastical world of dragons and forests and 3-eyed ravens and magic can be a coping mechanism for an audience like us, who must reconcile horrific acts in our own world on a regular basis.

Tribeca Review: Hollywood Satire 'Trust Me' Continues Industry Self-Love Designed As Self-Mockery

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 5:02 PM
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  • 2 Comments
It takes some audacity to open your film with an homage to "Sunset Boulevard," but that doesn't seem to worry Clark Gregg. A journeyman actor valued by filmmakers like David Mamet, Gregg has had a dynamic few years, making his directorial debut with Chuck Palahniuk adaptation "Choke" and an attention-getting role in "The Avengers." Bold as all that may be, he has used this clout to front "Trust Me" as both an actor and director, and you wonder if this reliable screen vet isn't stretching himself a bit thin at this point.

Tribeca Review: ‘The Pretty One’ Is A Sweet Fairy Tale Of Identity Lost Then Found

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 21, 2013 2:32 PM
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  • 0 Comments
There are movies about twins and there are movies about switching identities and there is “The Pretty One,” which uses both conceits for its tale of self and lack thereof. And to be fair, the premise of this quirky Tribeca comedic drama -- that’s ultimately much more affecting and genuinely melancholy than you’d expect -- is a little cutesy and cloying on the surface. And admittedly, the picture takes some time to find its bearings.

Tribeca Review: A Flashy New Boogeyman Highlights The Otherwise Dismal 'Mr. Jones'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Mr. Jones
What's distinct about "Mr. Jones" is that it lengthily utilizes three separate storytelling techniques. The narrative begins with found footage, then segues into documentary before closing with a more conventional structure. Given the sloppiness of Karl Mueller's directorial debut, it feels less like innovation and more like an attempt to cover up shortcomings, as if he had the kernel of an idea and only begrudgingly filled it out. Usually you see this in screenwriting classes during workshop sessions. Rarely does it play out on the screen in front of your eyes.

Tribeca Review: ‘Sunlight Jr.’ Authentically Portrays The Underclass, But Spares Few Rays Of Hope

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 21, 2013 11:01 AM
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  • 6 Comments
To orient you to a filmmaker who's been away for far too long: If Wes Anderson’s central preoccupation is tightly-controlled diorama-like compositions, Tim Burton’s obsession is dark, kooky misfits, and Sofia Coppola’s fixation is alienated teenagers soundtracked to exquisite pop songs, then Laurie Collyer’s main absorption is the forgotten underclass and their perils.

Tribeca Review: A Drug Trafficking Romeo And Juliet Face The Tragedy Of 'Deep Powder'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 10:48 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It doesn’t get much more Romeo and Juliet than “Deep Powder,” a drug melodrama based on true events but otherwise inspired by a love driven by classic class conflict. The handsome, broke townie in this instance is “Evil Dead” star (deal with it) Shiloh Fernandez as Danny, a puppy dog-cute snow-lift operator. He’s got eyes for kewpie-doll rich girl Natasha (Haley Bennett), who informs her that she accidentally dropped her wallet on the lift, but that she had no pressing need for him to give it back. The shock is that the wallet has four hundred dollars that she presumably won’t miss, which is even more incredible considering this was the early '80s, and inflation translates that to roughly $6,056.55. Roughly. Check the math.

Tribeca Review: Silence On The Front Lines Of War, In 'The Kill Team'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 10:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The Kill Team
There's a stomach-turning sadness at the heart of "The Kill Team," Dan Krauss' austere documentary about a soldier trapped in the cycle of violence perpetrated by a group of soldiers indicted on charges of violence against innocents in 2010. While the media was more than ready to discuss a culture of violence, utilizing "Kill Team" as a fashionable headline-filler, Krauss' film places the spotlight on Pvt. Adam Winfield. Like the upcoming "We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks," which places a strong focus on walking security breach Bradley Manning as a square peg, "The Kill Team" paints a portrait of Winfield as an overly earnest young fellow far out of his league when paired with soldiers that, when armed, simply became Boys With Guns.

Tribeca Review: 'Lenny Cooke' Is The 'Death Of A Salesman' Of Sports Documentaries

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2013 10:18 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Early on in failed-prodigy documentary "Lenny Cooke," the titular basketball star, then in high school, is caught off-guard in one of the film's many revealing passages. He is discussing the 2001 NBA Draft, which made history with three high schoolers taken in the top four selections. Before the draft, Cooke is casually asked who will be selected first overall. He off-handedly mentions three distinct possibilities: Seton Hall freshman Eddie Griffin, high school center Eddy Curry and the eventual number one pick, Kwame Brown.

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