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The Playlist

Review: Visceral 'The Dark Knight Rises' Is A Cinematic, Cultural & Personal Triumph

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • July 16, 2012 3:00 AM
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  • 55 Comments
In a season filled with big movies that somehow ask even bigger questions, “The Dark Knight Rises” feels like the superego to its competition’s id. An action opus that manages at to be both viscerally and intellectually engaging, Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated third Batman film comes full circle, examining both the Dark Knight and the society that produced him without sacrificing any of the sweeping thrills for which the series is known. A literate, thoughtful and invigorating finale, “The Dark Knight Rises” delivers everything audiences ask for and then some, albeit in fewer of the ways that they might expect.

Review: Michael Winterbottom's 'Trishna' Is Picturesque, But Entirely Lacking In Passion

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 12, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Over his career, Michael Winterbottom has hopped frequently from genre to genre, from subject matter to subject matter, rarely covering the same territory twice. But one of the few things he has returned to is the work of Thomas Hardy. The late 19th century British author has so far inspired two of the director's films: 1995's "Jude," an adaptation of "Jude the Obscure" with Kate Winslet, and "The Claim," a version of "The Mayor of Casterbridge" moved to a Californian mountain Western setting.

Review: Daniel Espinosa's 'Easy Money' An Absorbing Crime Tale With Electricity Pumping Through Its Veins

  • By The Playlist
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  • July 12, 2012 12:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Before we even get into a review of the twisty Swedish thriller, "Snabba Cash," retitled "Easy Money" for North American audiences by The Weinstein Company who has picked it up for U.S. release, one has to to first note its trajectory.

Comic-Con '12 Review: 'Dredd' A Visually Strong, Engaging But Ultimately Empty Cinematic Experience

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • July 12, 2012 8:27 AM
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  • 18 Comments
Remakes and reboots always seem to demand comparisons to their predecessors, but “Dredd” evokes a slightly different relationship: What Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” is to George Romero’s original, Pete Travis’ film is to, no, not Danny Cannon’s 1995 film “Judge Dredd,” but Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop.” In both cases, gifted visual stylists took fertile, socially-conscious subject matter, pared out the cultural commentary, and left behind an engaging, if empty, cinematic experience.

Review: 'Drunkboat' Features A Compelling One-Two Acting Punch In A Weightless Stagebound Adaptation

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 11, 2012 6:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
At the start of “Drunkboat,” Mort Gleason (John Malkovich) is abandoned at the bottom of a bottle, reduced to a near-catatonic stupor. He’s a forty-something drunken layabout who’ll either be seen wearing a mop on his bald pate for laughs, or lying on the floor passed out as the mop wears him. To say he has no memory of his family is to give him too much credit – the randomly erudite screwup is more often staring quizzically at his friends and enemies as if his reaction time was Cro-Magnon.

Review: 'The Imposter' A Remarkable & Entertaining Tale About The Illusion Of Truth

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • July 11, 2012 5:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It isn’t often that audiences will feel inclined to believe the word of a proven liar over a family who suffered as a result of his dishonesty, but “The Imposter” achieves that unusual feat. A documentary about a family stricken with tragedy that unwittingly takes in a con artist, director Bart Layton tells an almost too-amazing-to-be-true story that creates a truth, establishes sympathies, and then razes everything we think we know. A remarkable, entertaining and even sometimes shocking film, “The Imposter” utilizes reenactments and first-person interview footage to create a vivid account of a story whose actual details seem impossible to parse out from an entanglement of the participants’ recollections, feelings and most unexpectedly of all, their hopes about what actually happened.

Review: 'Red Lights' Invites You To Stop, Look & Listen

  • By William Goss
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  • July 11, 2012 4:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What you see, you can’t believe. What you can’t understand, though, can ultimately be explained. This is the modus operandi for Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), parapsychologists primarily interested in debunking supernatural phenomena. “When I see hoof prints,” she says, “I think of horses, not unicorns.” They work out of the Scientific Paranormal Research Center, a budget-strained department of an anonymous university, luring in curious students like Sally (Elizabeth Olsen) and Ben (Craig Roberts) while butting heads with the well-supported likes of Dr. Paul Shackleton (Toby Jones).

Review: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Is Pleasurably Rudderless

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 11, 2012 3:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The "Ice Age" franchise is like the "Shrek" series of Blue Sky Studios (a kind of mini-Pixar based in suburban Connecticut) – a new entry comes out every couple of years, usually to diminishing returns (creatively) but tons of box office. The last one, 2009's deliriously dull "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," wasn't a movie as much as it was a series of loosely connected gags, disparate short films stitched together to form a barely feature-length product…and yet it's the fourth highest grossing animated film of all time. Woof.

Review: 'Alps' Another Unique & Remarkable Film From Director Yorgos Lanthimos

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 10, 2012 4:56 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Until a couple of years ago, few outside his native Greece were aware of theater director-turned-filmmaker Giorgos Lanthimos. But when his third film, "Dogtooth," came from seemingly nowhere to win the top prize at Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009, it kicked off a process that's deservedly seen the helmer become one of the most closely-watched international filmmakers around. Other than a producing and acting role in the rather-less-good "Attenberg," he's been quietly working away on a follow-up, the pitch-black "Alps," which screened for the press here in Venice tonight. And the good news is, it's just as remarkable as his breakthrough.
More: Alps, Review

Review: 'Farewell, My Queen' Introduces Lesbianism Into The Marie Antoinette Story To No Great Effect

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 10, 2012 3:56 PM
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  • 2 Comments
In the land of the costume drama, truly, films about Marie Antoinette are Queen, promising lavish sets, romantic intrigue and shocking decadence -- but they don't always deliver. Director Benoît Jacquot's uninspiring take on the period opened the Berlin Film Festival days ago, but something about the film's lack of urgency must be contagious, and we're only getting around to reviewing it now. While "Farewell, My Queen" does boast admirable elements (more on those below) overall, despite some showy trappings it is a frustratingly empty experience, built around a character whose blankness is supposed to be a virtue, but ends up costing the film dearly in terms of identification and interest.

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