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The Playlist

Review: 'Arthur Newman' An Intentionally Listless Story About A Boring Everyman

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • April 24, 2013 4:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
What if we are all Arthur Newman? This is the question that director Dante Ariola and screenwriter Becky Johnston raise in "Arthur Newman," their tepid, imaginatively uninvolved drama about two strangers that fall in love while trying to escape their banal past lives. Ariola and Johnston’s film follows a rag-tag couple, played by Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, who bond when they discover that they both want to run away from their respective families and create new lives for themselves.

Tribeca Review: Will Forte Makes Dramatic Debut In Clunky But Affecting 'Run And Jump'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 24, 2013 12:59 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Run & Jump, Will Forte
There’s acting and then there’s “acting.” The first requires building credible characters and relationships, developing organic conflicts within the framework of a concrete story. The second involves loading up a story with excessive clutter that it drowns out any work of which the actors are capable, turning them into drama automatons: it’s mostly reacting, both removing the burden of work from most performers while also placing a greater spotlight on their very presence, as they are forced to “react” instead of act. This also helps illustrate the difference between drama and melodrama.

Tribeca Review: 'Reaching For The Moon' Movingly Reaches For Love, Literature & Loss In Brazil

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • April 24, 2013 11:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Whether you’ve never heard of Elizabeth Bishop or are vaguely aware of her poetry or wrote your doctoral thesis on her NYU years, you will enjoy this film. “Reaching for the Moon” is an intimate portrait of a years-long love affair between the Vassar-educated Bishop and well-connected Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares, which includes the stunning backdrops of New York’s Central Park and Pétropolis, “The Imperial City” of Brazil.

Review: Potentially Dumb & Fun 'Pain & Gain' Overstays Its Welcome With Unrelentingly Dumb & Unfun Tale

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 24, 2013 10:40 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Big, dumb, ridiculously over-the-top fun. When all else fails, filmmaker Michael Bay, perhaps one of the most unfairly maligned directors of the last two decades, can make it rain and bring the entertaining thunder like no one else. If not the inventor of the modern day supernova-esque blockbuster, Bay certainly defined it with some of the biggest, loudest, most larger-than-life spectacles of contemporary cinema. While loathed in many circles for several years by critics like Roger Ebert and others for “ruining movies” with his dumbed-downed, stadium-sized, often banal, Bon Jovi-like anthemic films that came with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, Bay’s reputation has improved in recent years with the rise and popularity of vulgar auteurism (a newfound respect or the loud and proud).

Review: 'Iron Man 3' Is A Solid, Sometimes Surprising Start To Marvel's Phase Two Movies

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 23, 2013 10:38 PM
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  • 16 Comments
Iron Man 3, poster header
After just about as successful a start as you could ask for (three new franchises, and one mega-franchise that kicked off with the third biggest movie of all time), the Marvel movie machine is moving into its next phase. And with it comes the risk of dilution; we're getting at least two movies a year (plus TV series "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D"), and with countless other superheroes also in the marketplace, there's a chance that diminishing returns could set in; what was once a special chance to see much-loved characters on the big screen might simply become a bi-annual check in to see much of what we've seen before.

Review: 'Sun Don't Shine' Is A Watercolor Wisp Hybrid Of An Indie Relationship Pic & Murder Mystery Movie

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 23, 2013 8:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Sun Don't Shine
Early on in Amy Seimetz’s “Sun Don’t Shine,” it becomes very clear that this isn’t just your average young-white-couple-with-relationship-problems-on-a-road-trip indie flick. Oh, Crystal and Leo have problems alright. And a bad relationship. And a road trip to go on. But the one very big problem that lies at the crux of “Sun Don’t Shine” is rotting in their trunk. That pretty much eclipses the “who else have you slept with” conversations they might have (but they’ll have those too).

Review: Mira Nair's 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' A Heavy-Handed Look At A Post 9/11 World

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 23, 2013 7:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Opening last year’s Venice Film Festival, Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” is an intriguing prospect. The film, an adaptation of the best-selling and acclaimed novel by Mohsin Hamed, had been under the radars of most until its selection, and aside from Kate Hudson, is mostly lacking in the starry names that normally attract attention to a festival. Fans of Nair (whose superb “Monsoon Wedding” won the Golden Lion in Venice in 2001) have been hoping for a return to form after her last film “Amelia,” disappointed. Was the film’s presence in such a prestigious slot a sign that she might have delivered? Unfortunately, despite a very fine central performance from ever-rising British actor Riz Ahmed (“Four Lions,” “Trishna”), not so much.

Tribeca Review: The Terrific 'Hide Your Smiling Faces' Is A Haunting Look At Adolescence

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 23, 2013 5:57 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Hide Your Smiling Faces
In a strangely beautiful and unnerving moment, "Hide Your Smiling Faces" opens up with an arresting visual: a close-up of a snake -- its mouth wrapped around a fish, slowly struggling to swallow it whole. It's disturbing, fascinating and the shot lingers with a sense of awe, curiosity and wonder. And it many ways, this remarkably captured moment sums up everything this striking debut feature is about.

Review: Norway’s Oscar-Nominated 'Kon-Tiki' Is A Fun Tale Of High Adventure But No More Than That

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • April 23, 2013 3:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 raft trip from Peru to Polynesia, which forms the story of “Kon-Tiki,” is already the stuff of legend – particularly overseas. Heyerdahl’s own 1950 book was an international bestseller (indeed this writer remembers a battered paperback knocking around her childhood home), and the documentary he filmed during the trip itself won an Academy Award back in 1951. Which makes it a pleasing narrative to have this film, over six decades later, achieve a similar feat in getting nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar. But we have to wonder if there’s a certain sentimentality at play there (Hollywood does love a self-referential story, after all) because there is little more to “Kon-Tiki” than a fun, handsomely-mounted, old-style adventure story. And as impressive a feat as that is to achieve, especially outside of Hollywood, which kind of specialises in this sort of thing, those looking for something with more depth from this category may come away a little disappointed.

Tribeca Review: ‘Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors’ Tackles Autism, Superstorm Sandy And Wins

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • April 23, 2013 10:01 AM
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  • 3 Comments
With this being Autism Awareness Month and communities still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, it’s tempting to dismiss “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” as a convenient combination of buzzwords – I nearly did. But while watching the film, I quickly dismissed those preemptive assumptions and became entranced with this poignant portrait of a family and their struggles on the outskirts of Manhattan, reminding me again about what makes the Tribeca Film Festival so great –- the heart-felt storytelling that sneaks through the red carpet barricades and evokes a transcendent realism, be it documentary or narrative.

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