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The Playlist

Savannah Fest Review: Contemporary Approach & Old Fashioned Message Clash In Rom-Com 'Missed Connections'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 30, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
That chance encounter, or the moment of love at first sight -- these have been the familiar building blocks of romantic comedies for decades, not to mention that New York City is a common backdrop against which these stories can play out. And yet, both audiences and filmmakers remain drawn to these tales, eager to see two people overcome personal, professional and/or social pressures to find a fairytale ending. However, in a genre as well traveled as this, finding a fresh angle isn't easy, but co-writer and director Martin Snyder gives it a whirl with "Missed Connections." While the online/social media twist doesn't absolve the film's many cliches and questionable moral lesson, the committed performances do at least highlight some talented folks worth looking out for down the road.

Review: 'Dust Up' Is A Hipster Apocalypse Western, Like Alex Cox Doing 'Mad Max'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 26, 2012 1:02 PM
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  • 3 Comments
No budget, no problem. The seams show often in “Dust Up,” an unapologetically silly action comedy that feels as if it was produced entirely from the loose change found on all of Brooklyn’s collective bar tops. Complimenting the jaunty original score and songs from Spindrift and Gram Rabbit are stock soundtrack cues like a soaring eagle, crashing glass, and what sounds like the loudest punches ever recorded for a film, even when delivered by hundred-pound weaklings.
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Review: ‘Silent Hill: Revelation’ A Silly, Artless & Depressing Sequel

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 26, 2012 11:46 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The problem with movies based on video games (or movies that try to capture the video game experience) is that they always come across like watching someone else play a video game. These movies might have budget-pushing effects and plotlines that mimic the follow-the-clues narrative of most games, but they never succeed in bringing the viewer into a fantastical, wholly imagined world in quite the same way. “Silent Hill: Revelation,” based on a series of Japanese horror survival games about a spooky town filled with ghostly apparitions, is one step worse than most of these video game movies. It feels less like a game and more like what happens when you leave your PlayStation on and it becomes a kind of dim screensaver. If we had a controller in our hand, we would probably throw it at the screen.

Review: 'Wreck-It-Ralph' Has A Great Concept But Fails To Level Up Into Something Unique

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 26, 2012 10:57 AM
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  • 10 Comments
Certainly, in some quarters, anticipation for Disney's "Wreck-It-Ralph" was high. With Pixar stuck in sequel mode, and with their original story "Brave" underwhelming this summer, many wondered if the Mouse House would step it up where their colleagues dropped the ball. With a seemingly fresh premise, new tunes by Skrillex and Owl City pimped on the soundtrack, nostalgia for the adults and a glossy adventure for the kids, the ingredients all seemed to be in place. Which makes it that much more frustrating that once you pop the quarter into the machine of "Wreck-It-Ralph," it reveals itself to be nothing more than a familiar formula dressed up in 21st century clothes.

Review: Not So 'Fun Size' Doesn't Know The Audience It Wants

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 26, 2012 9:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments
While you can debate the merits of "The O.C.," "Gossip Girl" and "Chuck," it can't be argued that writer/producer Josh Schwartz knows how to zero in on a target audience and cater to them specifically and successfully. Generally, his most lucrative milieu is in providing tweenage girls lukewarm TV soap operas, where beauitful people, get into rich people trouble, usually accompanied by high fashion and hip soundtracks. So it's easy to see why Nickelodean Movies were eager to harness his skills for an "Adventures In Babysitting" meets "Superbad" picture presumably for that demographic. But the resulting movie hardly approaches the pleasure of those films, with a result that is so tonally off balance, that it feels like the result of too many meetings with executives trying to figure out how to make a four-quadrant hit.

Review: Uninventive U.K. ‘Pusher’ Remake Offers Typically Stylized Drug Psychosis & Nothing More

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 26, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Indulge us for a moment. Nicolas Winding Refn's "Pusher" trilogy was never meant to be a triptych, let alone a multi-language spawning remake series (there has already been a U.K. produced, Hindi language version). Refn's original "Pusher" gained critical acclaim more than 15 years ago in Denmark, but the now celebrated director faltered badly on his follow-up picture "Fear X." He refinanced his home to guarantee it was completed properly and then went bankrupt when the film turned out to be a flop.

Review: 'Cloud Atlas' Is Bold, Messy & Disappointingly Unimaginative

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 25, 2012 6:32 PM
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  • 24 Comments
With The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer literally throwing a critic off the roof of a building to his death in the opening moments of the nearly three-hour "Cloud Atlas," it's clear that they aren't concerned in the slightest with how this ambitious effort will be received. And you certainly have to give the trio of directors some respect for their approach, which tag teams an all-star cast, gives them multiple roles and spreads the story across nearly a half dozen time periods. But for all their boldness in narrative approach, the adaptation of David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" is also a mess, with an attempt to mix its various genres under a universal thematic banner that never quite coheres.

Review: 'Chasing Mavericks' Drowns Under A Crushing Wave Of Moroseness & Melodrama

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 25, 2012 3:35 PM
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  • 4 Comments
One of the first things we see in "Chasing Mavericks," a mostly uninspiring surfing drama starring Gerard Butler, his lumpy face framed by strands of willowy wet hair, are the words "Based on a True Story." But the true story behind the scenes of "Chasing Mavericks" is almost as compelling as what made it onto the screen – Butler was hospitalized in a surfing stunt gone wrong (one that left the star nearly dead according to some reports) and the film's original director, "L.A. Confidential" helmer Curtis Hanson, had to leave the project following heart surgery ("Gorillas in the Mist" director Michael Apted was called in to finish the film; the two filmmakers share credit, in an atypical DGA decision). The fact that you can't see the Frankenstein stitches used to sew the film together is a testament to the cleverness of the editorial team, but it also speaks volumes about the interchangeable blandness of the movie.

Review: All Is Not What It Seems In The Beautifully Shot 'The Loneliest Planet' Starring Gael Garcia Bernal

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • October 24, 2012 7:31 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It’s true that “The Loneliest Planet,” directed by Julia Loktev (“Day Night Day Night”), is the kind of film that works best if you know little to absolutely nothing about it going in. But then again, couldn’t that be said for just about every film? So before we write this review, let’s get the basics out there: a young couple (played wonderfully by Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg), engaged to be married, is backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. They hire a guide to lead them on a hike filled with stunning vistas, and…something happens that changes things, irrevocably.

LFF Review: Francois Ozon's Puzzle Box 'In The House' Never Quite Forms A Full Picture

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • October 24, 2012 6:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Francois Ozon’s previous film, “Potiche,” was a fun and frothy effort, and while it was undeniably beautifully composed and performed, it was arguably also a little inconsequential. Ozon approaches the structurally more ambitious “In the House” from a more devious and darkly comic perspective, yet despite this approach sustaining intrigue for much of the 105 minute running time, there’s still a sneaking suspicion once things are done that once again it doesn’t amount to very much.

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