The Playlist

Tribeca Review: 'Match' Starring Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino & Matthew Lillard

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2014 12:37 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Match, Patrick Stewart
In the fitfully entertaining “Match,” Patrick Stewart is Tobi, an experienced dance instructor who has arrived in New York City after a whirlwind globe-trotting lifestyle. His days are spent working with students craving approval and attention, barking orders through his thick brogue. When he returns home, it is to solitude, to knitting and the occasional deli visit. Tobi is a child of the sixties, and his liberation during that period has allowed him a contemporary peace.

Review: Picturesque, Patience Testing 'The Italian Key'

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • April 20, 2014 8:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There are moments, while watching a movie for the first time, when you feel like your attention span is being stretched. It's normal—it happens all the time. And in this day and age it's more rare if you're not thinking about five things at once than if you're just thinking about one or two. Roger Ebert once said that a sign of a truly great film is when it makes you completely forget about everything, and glues you to the screen from start to finish. It's great when you feel truly invested in the story, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop you from watching how it ends. On the other hand, some movies make you wish for just about any kind of disaster—electrical power failures, building fires, hurricanes—to stop you from getting to the end. Yes, some movies stretch the attention span as if it was on a medieval torture rack until you become almost hysterical, bursting into fits of laughter, because some movies aren't even worth the tears. As gorgeous as it looks, and as pleasant as it sounds when no one is speaking, Rosa Karo's “The Italian Key” is unfortunately part of the latter category.

Tribeca Review: 'Life Partners' Starring Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester And Adam Brody

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 19, 2014 10:25 AM
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  • 13 Comments
Life Partners
There are two types of intolerable people, and they're both present in “Life Partners.” This comedy depicts a friendship between two grown women, both of whom find themselves shifting in different directions. Responsible Paige (Gillian Jacobs) has a regular 9-to-5 position at a law firm and social gadfly Sasha (Leighton Meester) toils away at a thankless receptionist job, and while neither of these jobs should define these characters, they inevitably do. This shorthand complicates a potentially fine source of drama, because Paige is straight and Sasha is gay.

Review: 'Small Time' Starring Christopher Meloni & Dean Norris Barely Gets The Engine Running

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 18, 2014 2:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Small Time
As a veteran writer on shows like "24," "Nikita," "The Commish" and "Miami Vice," director Joel Surnow surely knows how to create an hour of television that keeps moving. So it makes it all the more curious that his skills abandon him for his feature debut, "Small Time," which gathers up a couple of pretty good leads in Christopher Meloni and Dean Norris, but abandons them in a narrative that's starts off confused about the point-of-view from the first frame, and eventually spins its wheels for a low stakes drama where not much of consequence actually happens. So perhaps in that sense, "Small Time" lives up to its name.

Review: Mindless And Harmless '13 Sins' Starring Mark Webber & Ron Perlman Fails To Thrill

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • April 18, 2014 10:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment
13 Sins
Real human beings take a certain kind of sadistic pleasure in watching fictional human beings suffer. As long as it's from a safe distance, and it's not affecting you or yours on any level, watching man turn into beast right before your very eyes could feel almost empowering. Just think about the most popular video games for a second, if all the violent movies aren't convincing enough. This type of barbarity gets upped a notch when you throw in the theme of voyeurism; not only are we watching how low some people will go, but now we're watching them being watched, controlled, and manipulated into doing some really nasty stuff. We've seen it on taut psychological display in David Fincher's “The Game,” James Wan's “Saw” begat an entire franchise on it, and more recently E.L. Katz's “Cheap Thrills” had all sorts of delirious fun with it during the festival circuit. With Daniel Stamm's “13 Sins” however, the idea is skinned to the bone and thrown to the dogs. Trouble is, not even the dogs might enjoy this one.

Tribeca Review: Brooklyn Hipster Vampire Comedy ‘Summer Of Blood’

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 17, 2014 7:30 PM
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Summer Of Blood
Vampires have been just about everywhere: outer space, the distant future, Detroit. But it’s been a while since they’ve been to Brooklyn. The last time this particular borough was the subject of bloodsucking freaks was the failed Eddie Murphy/Wes Craven venture “Vampire in Brooklyn,” which put a stake through the heart of vampires in Brooklyn for a little while. But it seems like a good time for vampires to return to New York’s hippest borough, what with the thriving nightlife perfect for snacking, an abundance of dilapidated buildings to occupy (until they become condos), and the general acceptance, in Brooklyn, of sleeping till noon and looking like you’ve been touring with Phish for the last half decade. Tribeca spotlight opener “Summer of Blood” attempts to reposition vampires in Brooklyn, and the results are simultaneously satisfying and insufferably smug.

Tribeca Review: Nas Documentary ‘Time Is Illmatic’ Celebrates The Life Of A Classic Hip-Hop Album

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 17, 2014 6:39 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Time Is Illmatic
“Life’s a bitch and then you die,” rapper Nasir Jones spit on Illmatic, his groundbreaking 1994 debut album. A grim, cynical statement, Nas was simply following the tradition of hip-hop — reflecting your environment back to the audience. As Chuck D of Public Enemy once famously said, rap music was the “CNN for black people.” And so with Illmatic, Nas’ now-landmark ‘90s record, the rapper changed the game, broadcasting his pains, frustrations, ugly truths and hardships to a nation of listeners through a filter of lyrically dense, angry, blunt rhymes and jazz-inflected boom-bap beats. “It was real. He spoke the truth,” Alicia Keys says in the documentary, seemingly still taken aback now by Nas’ unflinching approach.

Review: Disneynature's Entertaining, Beautifully Shot 'Bears,' Narrated By John C. Reilly

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 17, 2014 12:05 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Bears
It seems fitting that Disney, a studio that has had such a solidly illustrious history with anthropomorphic bears (between Winnie the Pooh, the Country Bears at Disneyland and Br'er Bear from "Song of the South," all the way up to the magical bears that populated Pixar's Oscar-winning "Brave"), would circle back and focus an entire film on the actual animals. This year's Disneynature documentary, "Bears," features honest-to-goodness Alaskan bears, the kind that wake up from a snowy den and spend all year gathering food for the next winter. What's amazing about the documentary, though, is that it's oftentimes just as engaging as the Disney bears that play in jug bands or crave ooey-gooey honey.

Watch: 'The Final Member' Goes Below The Belt With Satisfying Results

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 16, 2014 6:07 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Final Member
There are few movies this year where you'll see a man get the stars and stripes of the American flag tattooed on the head of his penis. But then again, there are few documentaries like "The Final Member," a warm look at a quirky subject that gets to the human story behind it.

Review: 'Transcendence' Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara & Morgan Freeman

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • April 16, 2014 12:03 AM
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  • 14 Comments
Transcendence
We are the company we keep, and in the case of Wally Pfister, he and his professional cronies are some of the most iconic around. As DP alongside Christopher Nolan, his outlook working with key actors promises a certain atmosphere, a unique method. So here we are: a gloomy thriller trying to ground its at-times-daffy premise, emphasis on a grieving protagonist, with supporting turns from Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy. These aren’t rumored plot details from Nolan’s “Interstellar,” however. No, in mounting his feature directorial debut, “Transcendence,” Pfister has chosen to tackle familiarity head on, carving out a new arena for himself while rigging the grounds with pitfalls at every step.

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