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The Playlist

Review: Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers' Is A Semi-Conventional Genre Flick & Future Cult Favorite

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 13, 2013 6:31 PM
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  • 12 Comments
This will make you feel old: it has been 18 years since Harmony Korine wrote “Kids” at the age of 21, with the Larry Clark-directed film proving to be something of a firecracker in the midst of mid-'90s indie cinema, by turns controversial, seedy, and honest. Korine made his own directorial debut with 1998’s “Gummo,” and over the last 15 or so years has made films that (with the possible exception of “Mister Lonely”), push aesthetic and critical boundaries further and further, culminating in 2009’s “Trash Humpers,” a film shot on a VHS camcorder, featuring a cast in old-people masks generally trying to provoke the audience into walking out. So where could he possibly go from there?

Review: Intimate & Devastating ‘Ginger & Rosa’ Features A Transformative Elle Fanning Performance

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • March 12, 2013 7:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Lovely and devastating, challenging yet worthwhile, Sally Potter's "Ginger & Rosa" may be the English filmmaker's best since "Orlando," and perhaps her most accessible to date. The intimate and sensual picture also features yet another terrific performance by 14-year-old Elle Fanning, who is quickly becoming the most compelling teenage actor working in movies today. But this time, as the lead, Fanning is transformative, heartbreakingly conveying the inner life of an adolescent with an almost eerily nuanced command of her craft.

DVD Review: Missing ‘House Of Cards’? Excellent ‘Borgen’ Season 1 Will Keep You Satisfied

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 12, 2013 9:58 AM
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  • 4 Comments
If it isn’t already happening, Danish television is about to have a moment. AMC’s remake of the “The Killing” was canceled, swiftly brought back, and is now shooting its third season. HBO is in the midst of remaking the popular series “The Bridge” and NBC already snagged the rights to the political drama “Borgen.” It’s arguably the hottest of the three shows at the moment -- Stephen King named it as the best television he watched 2012 (the aforementioned Danish shows above made the top ten as well) -- and coming in the wake of Netflix’s tremendously well received “House Of Cards,” those looking to slake their thirst on political drama would be highly recommended to track down “Borgen,” which is arguably even more dense and layered than David Fincher and Kevin Spacey’s program.

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

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 11, 2013 4:13 PM
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  • 1 Comment
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: 'Upside Down' Envisions A Lifeless 'Romeo and Juliet' Tale With Sporadic Sci-Fi Escapism & Visual Thrills

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • March 11, 2013 2:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments
In Juan Juan Solanas.' fantasy romance "Upside Down," twin planets exist with opposite gravities and social restrictions of Dickensian thematic heft. "Up Top" boasts gleaming skyscrapers, well-dressed citizens, and the majority of wealth, while "Down Below" struggles in poverty and mud-stained existence. Between the two, Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) live out their own interstellar "Romeo and Juliet," torn apart by family as well as physics. If a smirk emerged from hearing any of these names or locations, it will remain over the course of Juan Solanas.' indulgent swirl of symbolism; but that doesn't mean there aren't moments of visual splendor and escapist fun to temporarily break up the expression.

SXSW Review: Olivia Wilde & Jake Johnson Have Crazy Chemistry In Joe Swanberg's 'Drinking Buddies'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • March 11, 2013 12:42 PM
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  • 0 Comments
With the rise of digital filmmaking in the last decade, a new wave of DIY "mumblecore" filmmakers have risen up through the ranks. While initially many of these films were loose and unpolished, they are now are becoming more refined with many of these directors and actors now having basically integrated themselves into the mainstream (or mainstream indie anyway). Of the directors who have come of age during this digital era, perhaps none is more notorious or divisive than Joe Swanberg, the writer/director/editor/actor responsible for 12 films over the last 8 years. With an output that prolific, you would think by now you should know whether Swanberg's brand of filmmaking is your cup of tea or not.

Review: 'Welcome To The Punch' Is A Stylish & Smart British Spin In On The Action-Thriller

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 11, 2013 11:19 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The terms "British cinema" and "action movie" tend not to go together particularly well. Maybe it's the smaller budgets at play, maybe it's an awareness that our American and Asian cousins do it better, maybe it's cultural -- most British cops don't carry weapons, for example. It's not that it hasn't been tried, it's more that the examples we do have -- "The 51st State," "Centurion," "The Sweeney" -- tend to be bad enough to dissuade too many others from giving it a shot, and so the idea of an action movie set in the U.K. remains incongruous enough that it can form the central joke of an entire film, like Edgar Wright's "Hot Fuzz."

SXSW Review: 'Short Term 12' A Heartrending, Heartwarming & Authentic Portrait of Life At A Foster Care Facility

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • March 10, 2013 5:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
It’s Nate’s (Rami Malek) first day at the adolescent foster care facility Short Term 12, and his new coworker Mason (John Gallagher Jr., scruffy and soulful) is regaling the staff with a silly monologue about an unfortunate sharting incident he suffered in the line of duty. It's a funny tale, but it also lays out exactly what kind of people these workers are, willing to forego all bodily comfort in order to make sure these kids are okay. They’re a no nonsense bunch who’ve seen it all and remain unflappable, particularly supervisor Grace (Brie Larson), a steely and impenetrable young woman.

SXSW Review: Frighteningly Dull 'Haunter' Missing Vincenzo Natali's Usual Edge & Inventiveness

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 10, 2013 2:43 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Vincenzo Natali is one of those genre filmmakers who has the rare ability to inspire loyalty in his small but vocal fan base by maintaining an aura of utter fearlessness. The director of ingenious, high concept doodles like "Cube," "Cypher," and, most importantly, the envelope pushing, outrageously underrated "Splice," can literally go anywhere or do anything. Unlike his contemporaries, Natali isn't happy to ever be pigeonholed or pinned down. You go to his movies not because you know what to expect, but because what you end up seeing is so unexpected. All of this makes "Haunter," his new "reverse ghost story," one of the bigger disappointments of the South by Southwest Film Festival thus far – a dull, repetitive, utterly confounding chiller that had the usually uproarious SXSW midnight crowd as quiet as church mice.

SXSW Review: 'Evil Dead' Is A Grim, Humorless, Ultraviolent Update Of A Horror Classic

  • By Cory Everett
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  • March 9, 2013 4:38 PM
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  • 56 Comments
When the "Evil Dead" remake was first announced, everyone pretty much assumed that it was going to suck. This was something that star/producer Bruce Campbell acknowledged during the Q&A at last night's SXSW World Premiere. But after years of being assaulted with fan questions about a fourth installment, the trio behind the original (Campbell, writer/director Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert) probably felt it was their duty to give the fans what they wanted. And since they perhaps felt they were getting a little old for another go-round themselves – it's been 20 years since the third and previously final installment "Army Of Darkness" – a remake/reboot/"rebirth" must have seemed really the only way to go.

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