The Playlist

Review: Humor & Heartbreak Mix Unevenly In The Slight ‘Lola Versus’

  • By The Playlist
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  • June 6, 2012 12:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Employing a hybrid of smart and quippy comedic observations, a perceptive outlook on the complications of 20/30-something relationships in New York and genuine moments of heartache, the romantic comedy “Lola Versus” can’t seem to synthesize these elements into a fully satisfying experience by the end of its brief 89-minute running time.

Review: Todd Solondz's 'Dark Horse' Deconstructs Man-Child Comedies, Mostly Toothlessly

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 6, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 2 Comments
If there's one theme that's been prevalent -- nay omnipresent -- in American comedy (and some dramas) in the last half-decade or so, it's that of arrested development: the male (for they are usually male) who's been so coddled by parents, by society, by expectations, that he remains locked in a state of permanent adolescence. Forty is the new thirty. Thirty is the new twenty. Twenty is the new fourteen. Thematically, It's been everywhere from "Failure to Launch" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" to "Greenberg" and "Blue Valentine," and it might even apply to you. But at this point, is there anything new to say about the phenomenon?

Review: 'Bel Ami' Starring Robert Pattinson Fails To Seduce

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • June 5, 2012 1:00 PM
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  • 3 Comments
We watch a man in ragged clothes look longingly through the window of a fancy Belle Epoque Parisian restaurant. Later, the hungry man in his mean garret relives the moment, jealousy and bitterness at the injustice of his situation playing across his face. Did we mention the man is played by Robert Pattinson?

Book Review: 'Hollywood Movie Stills' Is A Beautiful Look Back At The Golden Age Of Cinema

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 5, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There's no such thing anymore as the "art" of the movie still, with images from movies now part and parcel of carefully orchestrated marketing or sales plans driving the films. They are, generally speaking, grist for the mill, and while the first look at an imminent blockbuster or secretive project can provide a temporary thrill, the sheer overwhelming pervasiveness and availability of images, all at the click of a button, means that enjoyment is a temporary thing. Movie stills aren't about the glamor of a production anymore, so much as placeholders until we can see the actual movie. And that's not to cast judgment on how things work -- after all, we're a movie blog and very much perpetrators of the cycle -- but how images from movies are used and how they are perceived, from inside the studio and out, has changed dramatically.
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Review: Fear & Terrorism Mix In Compact, Solid Thriller 'Wallander: The Revenge'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 2, 2012 12:24 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Chief inspector Kurt Wallander (Krister Henriksson) has just turned 62, and would be quite content to spend the rest of his days on the deck of his new home in the seaside town of Ystad, Sweden listening to the water lap up on the shore, with this faithful dog Jussi by his side. At an age when retirement seems like it's just around the corner, Wallander is cut from the cloth of cops whose job isn't just a calling but a reflex, as natural as breathing. And working in the police department of a town of about 20,000 it doesn't seems like the kind of place where too much will change before he inevitably has to hang up his badge. He couldn't be more wrong.
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Review: 'Cellmates' An Unpleasant Racial Dramedy Featuring A Fading Tom Sizemore

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 1, 2012 5:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Movies can deliver a powerful message by humanizing what many consider to be the dregs of society, casting a light on what demons drive the darkness and bigotry in their heart. It’s the meaning of great art, finding humanity in the least-likely places. “Cellmates,” which is not great art, centers on former Ku Klux Klansman Leroy Lowe, an unpleasant, ornery man with decidedly unenlightened racial politics, as he attempts to stay true to his rotten self from behind bars. So far, so unpleasant.

Review: 'Sexual Chronicles Of A French Family' Deals Less With Wandering Minds & More With Wandering Hands

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 1, 2012 4:04 PM
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  • 5 Comments
The opening shot of “Sexual Chronicles Of A French Family” is handheld footage of a young girl in class, her eyes darting back and forth as we hear a teacher discuss the day’s lesson. She briefly looks into the shaking camera before slipping her hand underneath her skirt. She wears no undergarment, as we see her fingers passionately move up and down, the camera becomes still as she pleasures herself. If you’re looking for “Snow White And The Huntsman,” you may be in the wrong theater.

Review: 'High School' With Adrien Brody Is Your Standard-Issue Stoner Comedy

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 1, 2012 3:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments
There’s a long and underwhelming tradition of marijuana-fueled comedies, some overt, others less so. Even as the subgenre ages, however, it’s impossible to note the lowered aspirations of filmmakers each time out, as “pot” comedy has become part of a genre where increasingly timid filmmakers merely check off boxes in lieu of embracing the kind of irreverence that comes with the use of controlled substances. By the self-consciously layered title, you can guess where “High School” falls on this spectrum.

Review: 'Piranha 3DD' Dutifully Fails To Be In On The Joke

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 31, 2012 2:19 PM
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  • 11 Comments
If you're gonna go for it, go for it. That was the philosophy Alexandre Aja pursued for the bleakly funny "Piranha 3D," an orgy of death and dismemberment that indulged in the hedonism of spring break before letting loose swarms of genetically-superior fish that were decidedly playing for keeps. As much as Aja's characters had tongue firmly planted in cheek (see: Jerry O'Connell as Joe Francis), his committment to tearing these characters apart like cheap confetti never wavered, orchestrating a straight-faced massacre that might as well have been "Saving Private Ryan" for the "Jersey Shore" generation. Aja, like the piranhas, saw the youth of today and tasted blood in the water, not so much with a smile as much as a predatory grin.

Review: ‘Hide Away’ Has A Great Performance By Josh Lucas Nearly Suffocated By A Truly Lousy Movie

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 31, 2012 1:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
John Lucas is one of those actors who, mathematically at least, ought to be a movie star. He’s been a part of several high profile projects that should have launched him into the starry stratosphere (he was the romantic lead in Reese Witherspoon’s hit “Sweet Home Alabama;” a heavy in Ang Lee’s “Hulk;” and the anchor in big budget Hollywood movies that were supposed to be hits but ended up tanking, things like “Poseidon” and “Stealth”) and he has a laid back appeal and versatility (seek out his menacing turn in David Gordon Green’s underrated “Undertow”) that should put him in the same league as, say, Bradley Cooper. Instead, he’s stuck in projects undeserving of his considerable talents… Like the low-budget indie “Hide Away,” a truly lousy movie that does everything it can to suffocate Lucas’ very fine performance.

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