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The Playlist

Review: 'Dead Man's Burden' Is A Stunningly Shot, Slow Burner Of A Classic, Yet Modern Western

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • May 2, 2013 6:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments
One of the most cinematically gorgeous independent films in a long time, “Dead Man’s Burden” (along with fellow 2012 indie “Beasts of the Southern Wild," shot on Super 16) truly makes the case for celluloid. While watching this meditative Western, one simply wants to drink in the beauty of the image, and yes, that image is created on 35 mm film. They don’t make RED cameras that can do what film achieves in terms of sheer richness of image. In the age of digital everything, might independent film, at one time the dominion of digital, be the savior of celluloid? “Dead Man’s Burden” (the directorial debut of Jared Moshé) demonstrates just why film is important, simply by being beautiful. But beyond that, it’s also a moody, violent, classic, yet modern Western.

Review: 'What Maisie Knew' Is Deeply Affecting, Hard To Watch

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 2, 2013 5:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What Maisie Knew
It’s often an easy way to handicap your film, by centering it on a child character and demanding a great deal from the young actor. By definition, children are not fully-formed people, but a character in a film must be either fully-formed to yield proper dramatic results, or so uniquely authentic that it’s like catching chaos in a bottle, an approach that can create a serious cognitive dissonance when youth collides with seasoned actors. Remarkably, such chaos is present in young Onata Aprile, the title character of “What Maisie Knew,” an affecting new contemporary drama that never once feels phony when the camera is fixed on her face.

Review: 'Kiss Of The Damned' Is An Intoxicatingly Lusty Homage To Old School Horror

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 1, 2013 7:59 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and the director of the wonderful film world documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," wrote and directed "Kiss of the Damned" with a wink and a nod so overt that, from the opening credit sequence, which closely mimics the similarly-titled Hammer horror movie "Lust for the Vampire," it runs dangerously close to becoming a ninety-minute game of Spot The Reference. Thankfully, the knowingness never becomes too cloying, and what Cassavetes lacks in technical proficiency, she more than makes up for in a kind of heartfelt conviction sorely lacking in the genre.

Review: Penn Badgley Is Solid In Otherwise Uneven 'Greetings From Tim Buckley'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 1, 2013 7:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
While the film might not be quite as sweet and heady as drinking a glass of lilac wine, Penn Badgley's performance in "Greetings From Tim Buckley" does justice to the late Jeff Buckley, while also revealing that the "Gossip Girl" star has quite a few more talents than he's thus far been given credit for. But his swoop of wild hair and impressive vocal theatrics aside, the rest of the movie around him tells a trio of stories that never quite unite to land the emotional connection they're aiming for.

Review: 'Manhunt' A Decent Companion To 'Zero Dark Thirty,' But Doesn't Stand On Its Own

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 1, 2013 6:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
For a classified mission, executed in secret, and monumentally changing the face of the war of terror, there is an awful lot of public knowledge about the the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Books, magazine articles and more have proliferated at a steady pace, and then of course there's Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," a feature film account of the intensive search for the terrorist leader all the way up the raid on the compound in Abbottabad. That film gave a narrative to the decades long investigation, involving dozens of people, multiple branches of government, false leads and more, and turned into a compelling piece of historical cinema. As such, it takes some liberties for dramatic purposes, but the basic arc is there, however for those looking for an account from those who were actually involved, "Manhunt: The Inside Story Of The Hunt For Bin Laden" doesn't quite live up the comprehensive documentary the title suggests.

Review: 'The Iceman' Starring Michael Shannon Is A Tired Take On The Mob Flick

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 30, 2013 7:06 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Are we living in a post-gangster movie age? From the early talkies to the Oscar-winning success of “The Departed,” the genre has been ever-popular and responsible for seminal films from “White Heat” and “The Godfather” to “Goodfellas” and “Pulp Fiction.” But one struggles to think of a standout film in the genre since Scorsese's Oscar winner, with memorable mobsters now coming from television rather than the movies. We’re sure that someone will come along and give the form new life one of these days, but that reinvention of the wheel doesn’t come from Ariel Vroman’s “The Iceman,” which is decent enough, but fails to cover ground that hasn’t already been covered many times before.

Tribeca Review: Iranian Oddity 'Taboor' Is Hypnotic, Lynch-Like

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 29, 2013 1:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Taboor
What to say about "Taboor," a film that feels as if it was beamed down from a backwards Earth? This maddening low-fi fantasy seems to share its DNA with "Holy Motors" in a story that revolves around the unpredictable actions of a man who keeps escaping definition. At first, he's just a frail, elderly gentleman waking in the late evening and applying his uniform, headed to work. Until you realize his clothes might as well be a costume of sorts, a puffy silver body suit folded upon itself with massive, slick collar. Is this man a superhero?

Review & Recap: Magic Returns To Westeros In 'Game Of Thrones' Season 3 Episode 5 'Kissed By Fire'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 29, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Greetings, Gameheads. Thanks for reading my little rant last week about media images of violence. It's just important to talk about, and I think one of the things that "Game of Thrones" does really well is offer up those topics for discussion. I mean, like BODIES, right? They are so weird and gross and awesome and cool, and thank you Throne Games for letting us to reconcile a bit of that corporeal tension that is constantly surrounding us in the zeitgeist. Speaking of serving body, this episode is ass-tastic, so let's get booty rockin' everywhere in the comments (who's got the best butt? Trick question, they all have the best butt, I can't choose).

Recap: 'Veep' Delivers A "Robust" New Episode

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 28, 2013 10:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If the first two episodes of the second season of "Veep" left us wanting for sharper humor, richer characterization and plots tackling some higher stakes, then tonight's effort is the one we've been waiting for. While the show has a tendency to get bogged down in subplots that often feel saggy, "Hostages" is an example of lean, efficient writing that comes together in a tight knot of fast jokes, and story threads that pay off. It's certainly one of the better entries in the season so far, and it's probably the only show you'll watch this year where the word "robust" plays such a central role.

Tribeca Review: ‘Cutie And The Boxer’ Reveals Love Is As Complicated & Unwieldy As A Giant, Fanged Papier-Mâché Motorcycle

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 28, 2013 1:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Love is complicated, this much we know is true. But love is even more complicated, as Zachary Heinzerling’s brilliant new documentary “Cutie and the Boxer” illustrates, when the regular mechanics of romance (co-dependency, support, a nearly psychic transference of ideas and emotions) are housed within an artistic working relationship. Following the stratospheric ups and the depressive downs in the 40-year marriage and artistic collaboration between famed Japanese artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, “Cutie and the Boxer” delicately and playfully attempts to diagram how such a complex relationship functions (or doesn’t function). One of the most lively and emotionally resonant documentaries to debut this year, “Cutie and the Boxer” is a work of art in its own right.

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