The Playlist

Review: 'The Day He Arrives' Languidly Strives For Poignancy

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • April 21, 2012 2:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The primary reason why "Groundhog Day" works (besides the casting, pacing, easygoing charm and humor) is that the little town of Punxsutawney is the physical embodiment of what we all feel occasionally: a startling inability, even for a moment, to tell one day from the next. Call it a forced sense of deja vu, it's what Seongjun (Jun-Sang Yu), the lead of Hong Sang-soo's patient and trying "The Day He Arrives" is experiencing.

Tribeca Review: 'Jack And Diane' An Unsatisfying & Empty Relationship Movie

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 21, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Though the descriptor "werewolf-lesbian-psycho-drama" piqued immense interest when word first got out, Bradley Rust Gray's "Jack And Diane" doesn't follow through on its weirdo/intriguing premise. Little work is done from the get-go to make the emotional connection between the titular characters feel believable (a huge error considering the movie's core is based around this relationship), and without that rational groundwork, the film feels forced and hollow for most of its duration.

Review: '96 Minutes' Is About An Hour And A Half Too Long

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2012 5:41 PM
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  • 7 Comments
You might as well be prepared: “96 Minutes” is one of those multi-strand indie movies where the chronology is distorted, and you spend the runtime putting the pieces back together. You may be interested in just how every piece fits, how we got to a girl bleeding out in the backseat of a car (probably not). But it doesn’t matter, since the same complaint for this film is the one that can be used for others of its ilk, that being that none of these stories hold up on their own. But forget all that: we need to talk about Kevin.

Tribeca Review: Thai Existentialist Hitman Film 'Headshot' Proves The Genre Still Has A Pulse

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • April 20, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The hitman genre has been done to death. If cinema can be a reflection of the times we live in, and a recorded piece of history of what the filmmakers are concerned with at the time of inception and production, then it’s amazing any of us are still alive. When done well, the genre can be a lot of fun – as well as dramatic, escapist, cool and artful – but there’s just too many professional killers running amok in the movies.

Review: 'Penumbra' Flirts With Early Argento, Settles For Late-Period Dario

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment
“We are surrounded by monsters!” bellows the deep-voiced heavy metal singer in the end credit music for “Penumbra,” the new Spanish-language thriller opening this week. Given the subject matter, he may be drawing too broad a picture, given that so much of this singleminded scarefest relies on perspective, itself crooked in some ways.
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Tribeca Review: 'Polisse' A Gritty Police Procedural That Can't Avoid Soap Opera Theatrics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 20, 2012 9:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
On paper, a film investigating the inner workings of the police department seems like an odd choice for the Cannes Film Festival which prides itself on breaking new voices in cinema. Certainly, the film world has never lacked in depictions of a cop's life in all its difficult detail. But "Polisse" brings something slightly different to the equation. Inspired by a documentary the singularly named director Maiwenn saw on television about the Child Protection Unit, she set out to do her own research and based on that she's spun "Polisse." No, this isn't just a two hour episode of "Law & Order: SVU" (though at its worst, it does evoke some of the shriller moments of that show), instead, it's a largely unflinching look at the harrowing crimes this group of undersung officers investigate on a day to day to basis and the repercussions it has on their personal lives.

Review: Marvel's 'The Avengers' Is Immensely Satisfying, Entirely Thrilling & Possibly The Best Superhero Movie Yet

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 19, 2012 7:05 PM
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  • 33 Comments
The first scene of " The Avengers" is not very good. Deep in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base, scientist Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is conducting experiments on The Tesseract, the blue cube that powered the Red Skull's experiments in "Captain America." Expriments that, unfortunately, bring to earth Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the vengeful brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), last seen plummeting from Asgard into oblivion. Loki manages to take down S.H.I.E.L.D's best -- Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) -- with ease, and soon the base is decimated. It's a perfectly acceptable place to start, but there's something off about the execution: it's stilted, awkward and humorless, and the action is pretty uninvolving, with a TV-level of scope.

Tribeca Review: Haphazard 'Your Sister's Sister' Ambles Towards Drama With Little Consequence

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 19, 2012 7:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Independent filmmaking has become somewhat hyper-obsessed in the last few years with "realism." Lighting rigs have been put away, available light filling in where it will, and scripts tossed out for sketches, shaped by improvisation in an attempt to capture as close to an approximation of real human interaction as possible. It's an admirable approach, and not just limited to "mumblecore" movies -- Terrence Malick has followed this path pretty closely throughout this career. However, the risk in this style is that if it's too loose, it can structurally crumble the emotional and narrative focus. And for "Humpday" director Lynn Shelton's "Your Sister's Sister," that's the unfortunate result of the ten day shoot on the film that gathered together a game cast -- Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass -- and sets them loose on a good dramatic premise, unfortunately ill-served by a far too casual approach.

Review: 'Snow On Tha Bluff' A Refreshing, Unrelenting Piece Of Cinéma Vérité

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 19, 2012 1:27 PM
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  • 3 Comments
A jolt of, uh, dope into the veins of the micro-indie/found footage scene, “Snow on tha Bluff” is a wildly kinetic tour through one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States; an endlessly entertaining and captivating portrait of a “robbery boy” and crack dealer. Filmmaker Damon Russel completely disappears, letting subject Curtis Snow carry the entire film, resulting in gritty, authentic document of the culture and lifestyle in Atlanta’s favorite little quarters.

Tribeca Review: An Unwieldy ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ Is Still Endearing, Funny & Smart

  • By The Playlist
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  • April 19, 2012 8:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Funny, touching and occasionally dramatic, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s charming “The Five Year Engagement” falls just short of the modern-day comedy classic category, and yet is deeply entertaining, genuinely amusing and satisfying in the way most shaggy-dog, two-hour-plus comedies are not. Bolstered by a hilarious supporting cast and two genuinely likable leads, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy may feel a little unkempt at times, but the picture has sweet and touching notes to go with the diverting silliness.

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