The Playlist

NYFF Review: 'Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out' Depicts A Filmmaker In Crisis Mode Overshadowing Her Subject

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 28, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” filmmaker Marina Zenovich attempted to shine a light on the darker corners of the Polanski rape case that forced him to flee the country. Its affect was considerable in the public perception of his case, to the point where it was soon reopened by investigators. Unfortunately, that led to a legal reconsideration as well, bringing heat to a longstanding desire from law enforcement officials to bring Polanski to justice. There’s no room for compassionate reconsideration in the world of law enforcement, but Zenovich’s follow-up, “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” suggests that there’s possibly room for deception and corruption.

Fantastic Fest Review: The Kids Are Alright In Dan Bradley's Sturdy Remake of 'Red Dawn'

  • By William Goss
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  • September 27, 2012 9:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
After North Korean forces set foot on American soil in a clandestine invasion, one character utters that “this was bound to happen sooner or later.” He may just as well be referring to the fact that yet another beloved ‘80s title has been tapped for a remake by Hollywood; this time around, it’s “Red Dawn,” John Milius’ moderately beloved 1984 paean to small-town might and Soviet panic. Dan Bradley’s version won’t sway anyone who already construes the mere prospect of an update as something resembling sacrilege, and it’s unlikely to leave as potent an impact on its current generation, but it stands well enough on its own as an efficient, exciting tale of teenage insurgency.

Review: Muscular Genre Entry 'Solomon Kane' Unpacks Choice Atmosphere & A Superbly Moody James Purefoy

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • September 27, 2012 12:04 PM
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  • 3 Comments
It’s frankly absurd that Michael J. Bassett’s “Solomon Kane,” which premiered in U.K. theaters back in February 2010, is only tiptoeing into American theaters two years later. Credit to The Weinstein Company for picking up what is clearly a B genre picture, trading in grime-streaked foggy atmosphere and featuring a memorable turn from an ever-reliable actor frequently confused with Thomas Jane. Perhaps it’s the modern-day obscurity of Robert E. Howard’s sword-and-sorcery malefactor that prevents the assured film from coming across as a sure thing. Then again, we did get “John Carter,” so why not 'Kane'?

Review: 'The Other Dream Team' A Riveting, Inspiring Tale Of Sports History & Politics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
With NHL players and NFL referees currently locked out, for people who aren't sports fans to begin with, it's hard to sympathize with players making hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, in billion dollar industries. For the most part, in our day-to-day lives, sports doesn't mingle with politics or history, except every four years when nations come together to compete on the global stage. And while the Olympics do indeed anchor the key moments of Marius A. Markevicius' winning documentary "The Other Dream Team," the film wisely constructs a decades-spanning and wholly riveting narrative that chronicles how one basketball team became the hope of an entire country.

Review: 'Pitch Perfect' Hits All The Right Notes

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • September 27, 2012 9:03 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Luckily, "Pitch Perfect" has just enough flaws to (almost) keep us from making terrible puns around its title, but this fun comedy is good enough to leave an a cappella version of "No Diggity" stuck in your head. For a week. If this film does as well as it should, expect an influx of mediocre singers at karaoke; meanwhile we'll stick to practicing our rendition of "Starships" in the shower as we relive the awesomeness.

Fantastic Fest Review: 'Wake In Fright' Is A Genuine Lost Ozploitation Classic

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 26, 2012 12:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments
As the terrifically fun and informative documentary "Not Quite Hollywood" notes, at around the same time that austere, gauzy Australian films were bewitching American art house crowds (dubbed the Australian New Wave by people who dub those sorts of things), another, equally powerful surge of Australian movies were capturing the hearts and minds of stateside grindhouse audiences. Colorfully characterized as "Ozploitation" films, these pictures were down and dirty and unlike anything anyone had seen. In the same year that Nicolas Roeg's poetic outback tale "Walkabout" debuted (a cornerstone of the Australian New Wave), so too did Ted Kotcheff's "Wake In Fright," a much more bruising portrait of the Australian wilderness. While "Walkabout" was instantly considered a classic, "Wake In Fright" has largely languished as an unseen Ozploitation oddity. Until now. It's been cleaned up and is ready for canonization.

Review: Heady, High Concept 'Looper' Is A Dazzling Piece Of Sci-Fi Noir

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 26, 2012 11:01 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Welcome to 2044, Kansas. Time travel hasn't been invented yet, but in thirty years it will be. And when it is, it's immediately outlawed, with criminal organizations using it for their own ends -- namely, to dispose of bodies. In the future, thanks to the advances in tracking people, it becomes more difficult to make someone disappear. And thus there are Loopers. Sent 'assignments' from the future, they dispatch them in the present, get rid of the bodies, thus eliminating them from the future, for which efforts they get paid a modest sum. It's not the most honorable job, but considering how bad the economy has become, it's something.

Review: 'Hotel Transylvania' An Energetic Halloween Treat That Brings Chaos, But Lacks Character

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 25, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
For some reason (and we're convinced it was a cosmic misunderstanding), the various studios are releasing three horror-themed animated films in three consecutive months. Last month, we got the marvelous (and unfairly marginalized) "ParaNorman," next month we have Tim Burton's triumphant "Frankenweenie," and this week we have "Hotel Transylvania," about a gothic safe haven for all manner of things that go bump in the night. To set itself apart from the pack, "Hotel Transylvania" has opted to forgo any intentional spookiness and focus purely on comedy – mostly of the broad, physical variety. And while "Hotel Transylvania" doesn't have the eeriness or resonance of the other two films, it is admirably energetic – a pinball machine of a movie, one that's painted with cartoon monsters and really, really loud.

Review: 'Masquerade' Is Only A Somewhat Convincing View Of Hypothetical History

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 21, 2012 4:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
When King Gwang-hae ruled over Korea, landowners were the only ones taxed, and peasants and middle-class citizens suffered under his rule. But there’s a sliver of that moment in time where, during his eighth year of ruling, his policies changed, favoring the commoner over aristocracy, honoring the sacrifices of others instead of punishing the weak. With portions of the historical record missing, one can see how easily some historians can hypothesize what occurred during this brief period. Unfortunately we’ve been cheated out of another gnarly Lindsay Lohan body swap comedy, so we’ll make do with “Masquerade.”
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Review: 'War Of The Buttons' Feels Like An Early '90s Miramax Reject

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 21, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It’s World War II, and France faces a hostile Nazi occupation. You wouldn’t know it from the children, however, as “War of the Buttons” uses the war as a macro-micro contrast with the tale of a group of youths protecting their territory from a group of would-be mini-hooligans. The troops may be coping with casualties on all sides, and regular French citizens deal with day-to-day bullying by Gestapo strongmen attempting to suss out Jewish citizens in hiding, but none seem aware of the War of the Buttons.

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