The Playlist

Review: While Gaudy & Gorgeous, The Almost G-Rated 'Mirror Mirror' Is A Forgettable Lark

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 29, 2012 2:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
“Mirror Mirror” is like the big budget Broadway show that you’re forced to see when your parents are in town. The costumes are exquisite, the staging quite grand, the performances typically arch, and while it flits by you it’s easy to be entertained and occasionally tickled (even if you wince more than once during its intermission-free running time because of its sweetness and attempts at relevant hipness). But once it’s over, and the house lights have gone up, and your parents have returned to Wahoo, Nebraska, you’ll never, ever think of it again. For a movie based in the primordial world of fairy tales, “Mirror Mirror” is remarkably forgettable.

Review: 'Bully' Shifts Blame & Pities The Victims Without Offering Real Solutions To The Problem Of Bullying

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • March 28, 2012 3:38 PM
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  • 13 Comments
At one point in "Bully," a new documentary about the complex problem of bullying in American high schools, a mother of a bullied high schooler confesses that she feels like both she and her husband have failed their son Alex. He is constantly picked on when he rides the bus to school every morning. His mother briefly blames herself, saying that she doesn't feel like a good parent, before shifting the blame to her husband, an alpha male that we've previously seen encouraging Alex to confront his problem so that his younger sister won't have to suffer for his silence.
More: Review, Bully

Review: 'Womb' Puts Love, Sex, Family & Cloning Into A Blender, Comes Out As A Sci-Fi Incest Romance

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 28, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There's an air of finality to the entirety of "Womb," the new film from Benedek Fliegauf. Using minimal shooting locations, primarily a cloudy offseason beach, the picture might be following young Rebecca and Thomas as the last lovers at the end of the world. One could argue that's even the movie's intentions -- when there is nothing left to love, we'll invent, and re-invent, new people. And Thomas is about to be re-invented in an exceedingly peculiar manner.

Review: 'Wrath Of The Titans' A Barely Memorable, Lifeless Sequel

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 28, 2012 7:26 AM
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  • 9 Comments
So a couple of years ago, they remade “Clash Of The Titans.” Do you remember that? No? Well, it was pretty successful. Box Office Mojo says it made about $500 million. There were some special effects. It was in 3D. Gods, monsters, that sort of thing. Seems like a can’t miss thing. Apparently Danny Huston was in it. Well, they’ve made a sequel, believe it or not. Does it match up to the last film? Not sure. It seems this has gone from a forgettable movie to a forgettable franchise.

ND/NF '12 Review: 'Hemel' Takes An Unflinching Look At Broken Sexuality

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 26, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Within the very first moments of "Hemel," a couple writhe naked in bed. Their playful banter and back-and-forth focuses on the unsubstantial equipment, which he laughs off with only a slightly bruised ego. It's only when he starts to rag on her pubic hair that she begins to unravel, disappointed that her lover would complain about tasting her hair. Within moments, he's lathering her with shaving cream, lovingly running the blade up and down between her legs. As he walks off to wash, she lies on her back, completely barren. She's fine being nude, but it's clear she hates being vulnerable.

ND/NF '12 Review: 'Gimme The Loot' Paints An Affectionate Portrait Of The Foibles Of Inner City Youth

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 26, 2012 1:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The streets of New York City are alive in SXSW hit "Gimme The Loot," the endearing and charmingly unpretentious first feature from director Adam Leon. The film seems to move to the beat of jangling spray paint cans, particularly those in the deep pockets of Malcolm and Sofia. These two high schoolers, first seen stealing a cache of spraypaint bottles from a local marketplace, have a dedicedly old-fashioned plan, one that would make any New Yorker smile and shake their head -- they're going to "bomb" the Mets' apple in Citifield.

Review: 'Wild Bill' Is An Immensely Likable Directorial Debut From Dexter Fletcher

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 23, 2012 10:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
For whatever reason, directorial debuts by British character actors tend to lean towards the gritty kitchen-sink drama; Tim Roth, Gary Oldman and, more recently, Paddy Considine have all broken their filmmaking cherry with uncompromisingly tough, bleak subject matter. Considering that it involves abandonment, council estates and the risk of being taken into care, one might be forgiven for expecting the same from Dexter Fletcher's first film, "Wild Bill." But then, Fletcher's best known for being one of the central quartet, alongside Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng and Nick Moran, in Guy Ritchie's debut "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," and for appearing frequently in 's pictures, so could Fletcher have turned out some kind of guns and geezers movie instead?

Review: 'Brake' Isn't Stuck, But It's Only Built For An Obvious B-Movie Set-Up And Shallow Payoff

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 23, 2012 9:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
And here with his audition for a basic cable star vehicle is Stephen Dorff. The diminutive actor has been allowed by Hollywood to attempt to play tough guys repeatedly, despite having the physical composition of Christian Slater’s post-shave whiskers. But his effort as a journeyman actor in both big studio films and art house efforts have paid off, as Dorff, in his later years, has become an actor of uncommon gravity in a series of ill-fitting projects. While he still cannot hold the center in a big starring role, his weathered handsomeness more often than not enriches the emotional plausibility that surrounds him, even if at times it’s close to nil.

Review: '4:44: Last Day On Earth' Envisions The Apocalypse Without Much Imagination

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 22, 2012 5:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
There's something very wrong in Abel Ferrara's "4:44: Last Day On Earth." The world, as the title would suggest, is coming to an end, and Ferrara, the fuck-you auteur behind "King of New York" and the non-Nic Cage-adorned "Bad Lieutenant," is content with keeping things inside a spacious apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There aren't any fireballs ascending heavenward, or steely buildings splintering into a million computer generated pieces. The anguish here isn't global, but personal, and instead of millions of people, Ferrara zeroes in on an arty couple, played by Willem Dafoe (channeling his "Antichrist" persona of earnest concern, except with more levity and less genital mutilation) and the young Shanyn Leigh.

Review: 'The Deep Blue Sea' A Beautiful, Woozy & Heartbreaking Tale Of Intense Passion

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 22, 2012 4:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What is love, and what is its worth? That's the burning question at the core of "The Deep Blue Sea" the latest from British master Terence Davies, a drama that burns with a blue flame intensity that is deeply beautiful and shattering all at once.

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