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The Playlist

Review: 'Coldplay Live 2012' Endearingly Captures The Energy Of The World's Biggest Band

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 12, 2012 3:04 PM
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  • 12 Comments
If there's a way you can be the world's biggest pop band and still be underrated, well, Coldplay have figured out how. Their five albums, which always manage to be solidly artistic and hugely accessible, have sold tens of millions of copies, no small feat in the age of the crumbling music industry, and yet their detractors say that they're boring and dull, two charges that cannot be leveled against "Coldplay Live 2012." A new concert documentary that charts their tour in support of last year's Mylo Xyloto album, 'Live 2012,' like this year's other two great concert docs ("Shut Up and Play the Hits" and "Katy Perry: Part of Me") is a boundlessly energetic, utterly endearing chronicle. Hands in the air, people.
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Doc NYC Review: 'My Amityville Horror' Is A Disturbing Mixture Of The Paranormal And The Psychological

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 12, 2012 2:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz (along with Kathy's three children from a previous marriage), moved into a huge house in Amityville, a tony Long Island suburb. In less than a month, the family would abandon their possessions and leave the house, later claiming it had been the source of a number of supernatural disturbances – including the appearance of a floating, wolf-headed pig; demonic possession; and swarms of ghostly black flies.

AFI Fest Review: Kim Nguyen's 'War Witch' a Haunting, Brutal Surrealist Fable Matched by Powerful Lead Performances

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • November 11, 2012 9:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Before any political or societal context enters the brutal cinematic depictions seen in “Come and See” and “City of God,” each effort can first speak clearly enough from the image of a child holding a firearm. Gawky, nervous, and with an expression of terrified power, the isolated sight holds many questions to a decayed rationality and natural order, but as Canadian director Kim Nguyen's shows within his searing look at African child soldiers, “War Witch," those two aspects are the first to be excised in warfare. Blending a surrealist perspective of battle-tinged faith with the harrowing tale of one girl's resilience, the film is a laser-focused fable threatened occasionally by its drifts into character shorthand, but equaled by a wrenching lead performance by Rachel Mwanza that results in one of the finest of the year.

Rome Review: Paul Verhoeven’s Partially Crowdsourced ‘Tricked’ Is A Short, Wickedly Enjoyable Soap Opera

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 10, 2012 4:32 PM
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  • 5 Comments
It’s actually just the tip of an iceberg that encompasses an online component, mobile apps and a TV show in his native Netherlands, but Paul Verhoeven’s 50-minute-long “Tricked” (“Steekspel") provided what the Rome Film Festival so far has rather lacked: sheer entertainment value.

Rome Review: 'Mental' With Toni Collette Is A Watchable Farce That Could Do With Going A Bit More Nuts

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 10, 2012 12:53 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Showing today Out of Competition at the Rome Film Festival, “Mental” marks director P.J. Hogan’s (“My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Confessions of a Shopaholic”) reunion with his “Muriel’s Wedding” star Toni Collette. The intervening years may have made them both older, but not necessarily wiser, as “Mental” seems content to rework the “Muriel’s Wedding” formula but with greater resources, like a now-established star and a supporting cast of notable Aussie actors (many of whom we had kind of forgotten were Australian) at its disposal. Both films take small-town Australia as their settings, both feature female characters marked by unpopularity and social inadequacy, and both are inspired by, and constantly reference, particular kitschy elements of pop culture -- ‘Muriel’ had Abba, while ‘Mental’ has “The Sound of Music.”

Rome Review: Amos Poe’s ‘A Walk In The Park’ A Confused, Discordant And Ultimately Empty Ordeal

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 10, 2012 10:48 AM
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  • 6 Comments
By the end of “A Walk in the Park” ’s 96 minutes, you will know a lot about Brian Fass. You will know of his various ailments, his depression, his relationship with his mother, the medication he is on, the mountain he nearly climbed, his electroshock therapy and the titular walk in the park that marked some sort of turning point in his life. What you will not know, however, is why on God’s green earth you should care. “A Walk in the Park,” from New York indie director Amos Poe premiered today In Competition at the XXI sidebar of the Rome Film Festival, which is a section dedicated to films of all lengths that “reflect the continuous reinvention of cinema in the contemporary audiovisual landscape.” Sad to report, this film reinvents the documentary portrait tradition into a thoroughly confounding and tiresome experience.

DOC NYC Review: 'Shenandoah' A Sharp Look At A Community With Skeletons In The Closet

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • November 9, 2012 4:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Shenandoah, PA, but its landscape and demeanor should feel familiar. Formerly a bustling coal-mining town, the area is now a bit destitute... but you wouldn’t know it from the warmth emanating from its inhabitants, nor from the exuberant passion the community displays during events such as their Christmas celebration or the local football games. There is unity, a we’re-all-in-this-together mentality that keeps the people from hanging up their gloves and calling it a day.

Doc NYC Review: 'Persistence of Vision' Is A Heartbreaking Account Of A Thwarted Animated Masterpiece

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 9, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
When Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis needed a team to provide animation for their ambitious hybrid "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," they didn't turn to their own team at Disney Feature Animation who, with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," singlehandedly invented the animated feature (and was responsible for the medium's continued popularity). Instead, Spielberg and company turned to Richard Williams, an eccentric, Canadian-born animator who ran an animation studio and ad agency in London and who, quite recently, had been responsible for developing a technology to shade animated characters that were inserted into live action plates. The collaboration was a rousing success, netting Williams a pair of Oscars, but his directorial debut, "The Thief and the Cobbler," wasn't so lucky. "Persistence of Vision" explores the monomania of a man determined to push the envelope of the medium, until the envelope explodes.

Review: Coen-Derived Caper Comedy 'Gambit' Features A Game Colin Firth, But That's About It

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 9, 2012 12:58 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Of all the genres to try and pull off, the romantic caper flick -- think "To Catch A Thief," or "Charade," or even "Ocean's Eleven" -- is one of the trickiest. For such a film to work out, it's got to be as light as a feather and feel entirely effortless, and all too many films aiming to hit that sweet spot end up feel entirely effort-ful. But if anyone feels like they might be suited to that sort of thing, it would be the Coen Brothers, who penned the script for the remake of a minor classic of the genre, the 1966 Michael Caine/Shirley MacLaine film "Gambit." Have they pulled off?

Rome Review: Overlong & Incoherent, Takashi Miike's 'Lesson Of The Evil' Is Sadly More Bore Than Gore

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 9, 2012 11:58 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The slasher picture, which is what we suppose this film eventually morphs into, relies on a certain novelty in how our successive victims are offed for us to retain interest -- there should be jumps, scares, the unexpected, the gruesome. But for all its (literal) buckets of blood and fetishistic slo-mo messy deaths ‘Lesson,’ enjoying its World Premiere at the Rome Film Festival, spends its entire last third in an orgy of murder that feels, of all things, rote.

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