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The Playlist

My Favorite Films Of 2011: Christopher Bell

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • December 20, 2011 2:30 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Something that always bothered me about being a critic was that your feelings on whatever you're writing about suddenly get stuck in stone after pushing that glorious "Publish" icon.

In Theaters: 'I Am Number Four,' 'Unknown,' 'Big Mommas,' 'Putty Hill'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • February 18, 2011 5:39 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Another Friday brings us another blockbuster, this one aimed squarely at the fluttering innards of tweenish types everywhere. And for the dads that drop them off at the theater, Mr. Neeson kicking ass, and for the true masochists, a new entry in the Granny Drag cannon. Of course, if you so choose, there are some interesting offerings in the mix, if pretty aliens and badass Neeson and Martin Lawrence don't entice you. Opening in wide release, Alex Pettyfer hopes to earn his diva behavior with "I Am Number Four," Liam Neeson stars in the reverse-amnesia vehicle "Unknown," and there's an unasked for sequel in the "Big Momma's House" franchise. In limited release, we've got some interesting stuff, including narrative/doc hybrid "Putty Hill," Gael Garcia Bernal in "Even the Rain," and Mexican cannibal flick "We Are What We Are." Let's begin, shall we?

Review: 'Putty Hill' Combines Narrative And Doc To Provide An Experience Like No Other

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • February 17, 2011 2:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments
A loud, rapid series of thuds are heard. Deep in the woods, a ferocious game of paintball rages on as if lives were at stake or land was to be won. Taking cover behind a large, makeshift contraption is a young boy, one who wouldn't look too inappropriate on MTV's "Skins." He's not fit for this war, that's for sure, and the camera lingers on him as he catches breath and prepares to hide out for all eternity, or just until the end of the game. Suddenly, an off-camera voice breaks the peace and asks straight-forward, personal questions, which lead to explanations as to why he's involved in a game he could care less for and why his mood is more than a tad glum. A week ago his brother had OD'd and died, these comrades are not his friends but his siblings, taking the young kid out to unleash some bottled emotions. The funeral's just around the corner, and this small-knit town all plan on attending the services, regardless of how well they knew him or not. A few more bits are extracted from the boy (such as his brewing vampire novel -- which you "wouldn't get unless you read it") until a foxy girl discovers his spot and chats him up. Instantly the voice disappears, returning to non-doc narrative and letting the scene play out with a meditative quality.

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