Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

Review: 'Butter' Tries To Carve Up Edgy Laughs But Goes Soft By The End

  • By James Rocchi
  • |
  • October 4, 2012 5:00 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
A political satire set in the competitive world of butter-carving at the Iowa State Fair, the script for "Butter" was so ballyhooed and praised that it wound up on The Black List, the annual underground buzz list of unproduced screenplays based on a straw poll of agents, development executives and insiders. (As a side note, we must say that The Black List is only interesting as a barometer of quality insofar as you trust agents, development executives and insiders to be able to tell good from bad, which much of Hollywood's output suggests is not actually the case.)

Review: 'The Oranges' Is Dated, Schtick-Reliant Suburban Satire

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • October 4, 2012 4:00 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
There’s another era that would have welcomed the chaste suburban sex comedy “The Oranges.” In an earlier time, this mock-revealing story of two families coming apart due to infidelity would have seemed appalling, transgressive. Perhaps as a low-heat exploitation picture threatening to expose the chaos and lack of identity underneath the perfect suburban exterior. Maybe as a sobering drama about two groups of adults at an impasse between the intensity of their feelings, and the acceptable social mores which they must battle. But you review the movie that you’ve gotten, and “The Oranges” is neither of these films.

Hamptons Film Fest Review: 'Decoding Deepak' Is A Warm & Fuzzy (But Not Exactly Illuminating) Look At A Beloved Guru

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • October 4, 2012 3:18 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
The first few moments of the mercifully brief "Decoding Deepak" (it runs a scant 74 minutes) promise something intriguing. In the opening few scenes, the movie teases a look at Deepak Chopra, the spiritual advisor and self-help guru who has written something like sixty books and helped lead the rich and powerful towards existential oneness, not through some detached, analytical third-party lens, but from first hand knowledge, since the filmmaker/narrator/co-star is Chopra's son, Gotham. Is Deepak a fraud, the genuine article, or something in between? If anyone could figure it out, it's his son and heir to ChopraCorp. Sadly, while it is entertaining in spots and certainly heartfelt, "Decoding Deepak" favors glazed-over generalities over any actual introspection.

NYFF Review: 'Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries And Mentors Of Ricky Jay' Is A Deeply Magical Biography of the Illusionist

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • October 4, 2012 2:04 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Nowadays, with the abundance and popularity of fantasy literature and cinema, when someone says "magic," they immediately conjure images of entrenched warlocks and fire-breathing dragons. The art and performance of practical magic – things like card tricks and making stuff disappear – has faded into the background, unless you stumble upon one of those neverending loops of David Blaine specials on cable or remember how David Copperfield was once one of America's most popular celebrities (he did have great hair). But as "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay," an intriguing (if intermittently stuffy) biography of a true master magician, shows – practical magic can be just as thrilling as anything you see on "Game of Thrones."

VIFF Review: Overstuffed 'Love Is All You Need' An Unsatisfying, Predictable Rom-Com From Susanne Bier

  • By Erik McClanahan
  • |
  • October 4, 2012 10:02 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
What’s up with those crazy Danish filmmakers and their compulsion to pile it on? The latest from Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier (“In A Better World”) is like watching a long game of Jenga. As every sub plot, reveal and character… err, caricature that is, gets stacked on top of each other, the more inevitable it is that the whole thing will come tumbling down. And while “Love is All You Need” is by no means a disaster, it simply can’t support all that weight.

Review: 'Sister' Is A Beautifully Bleak Coming-Of-Age Story

  • By Emma Bernstein
  • |
  • October 3, 2012 6:00 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
A young child is dressing in a bathroom stall. We can’t tell what he looks like, as he layers on shapeless winter clothing and a neoprene mask hides all discernible features save for a pair of bright, knowing eyes. He goes through the pre-ski ritual, bundling up before braving the windy, snowy landscape of the mountain ahead. Except that this child isn’t dressing for a day of skiing, but rather a day of stealing. It isn’t until he lifts a backpack and a jacket, returning to the stall to sort through his loot, that his babyish face and soft, dirty blonde hair are revealed. This is the opening scene of “Sister,” the sophomore feature from Swiss director and co-writer Ursula Meier. The film, which won a Special Mention Silver Bear award at this year's Berlin Film Festival, examines the coming-of-age process and the challenges that face us as we arrive at adulthood.

Review: 'Wuthering Heights' Is A Superb, Groundbreaking Adaptation Of The Classic Tale

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • October 3, 2012 4:04 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
One of the most exciting talents to emerge out of the U.K. in the last decade or so is Andrea Arnold. The former television presenter won an Oscar for her short film "Wasp" in 2005, and made her feature debut the following year with the powerful, gritty thriller "Red Road." 2009 saw her follow it up with "Fish Tank," another kitchen-sink type film showcasing some incredible performances, gathering even more acclaim, and allowing the director to make inroads internationally. Her choice of a third film raised some eyebrows, however: Arnold was selected to helm a long-in-the-works film version of Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights."

Review: 'The House I Live In' A Messy, But No Less Potent Examination Of The Misguided War On Drugs

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • October 3, 2012 3:05 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
$1 trillion dollars have been spent over the past forty years on The War On The Drugs, causing a 705% increase in the American prison population since 1973. And perhaps most bracing of all, while African-Americans only make up 13% of the population, and 14% of its drug users, they account for 56% of those behind bars. These are just some of the infuriating statistics about The War On Drugs that come to light in Eugene Jarecki's "The House I Live In." And while it's messily put together, with a sprawling and at times unfocused narrative that often gets in the way of itself, it doesn't deny the power of the facts Jarecki brings to bear on a misguided program that hasn't stopped the demand for drugs, that has disenfranchised the poor and minorities, and created an expensive prison industry.

NYFF Review: 'Araf' Stirs & Shocks In Equal Measure

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • October 3, 2012 9:57 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
There isn’t much that can prepare you for the drastic second-half turn of “Araf,” an often-gorgeous drama playing in the Main Slate at the New York Film Festival. Evocative and somewhat alien in equal measure, “Araf” takes place in a withered Turkish countryside that might as well be another planet. We see the economic strife through the lava runoff that occurs in the very first shot of the film, lumbering out of a cauldron, spilling out onto the land. Though fairly mundane within the lives of the characters (one of whom is discussing sex in voiceover as the orange-red substance burns all that lies underneath it), it’s an introduction that rivals the eye-opening early shots of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” though while it was that film’s high point, here it’s an example of a world dying while underdeveloped, neglected, managed and monitored by day laborers barely getting by on their own.

Review: 'Beatles Stories' A Collection Of Celeb Tales Tall & Small About The Fab Four

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • October 2, 2012 4:30 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Everyone has some kind of celebrity story. And even if you don't, in this six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon world, you probably know somebody that does. And when it comes to one of the most important bands of all time, who not only touched the world of music, but film, art, politics and social change as well, it's no surprise that the reach of The Beatles stretches far and wide. And so one man with a camera, and passion for the band hit the road (and his Rolodex) and set out to document as many stories about the Fab Four as he could, and Seth Swirsky's "Beatles Stories" does just that. This breezy, no-frills documentary sets out to do exactly what it intends to, both for better or for worse, with a project that while rarely illuminating, will probably be a delight for diehard Beatles heads.
More: Review

Email Updates

Recent Comments