The Playlist

Review: Nasty Nordic Thriller 'Headhunters' Doesn't Have The Courage Of Its Convictions

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 26, 2012 4:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
For fans of the crime genre, both on the page and on the screen, Scandinavia has been the hottest source of new material in recent years (although obviously not literally). Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy was a huge bestseller worldwide, and has already provided three Swedish films and David Fincher's upcoming remake "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," while Kenneth Branagh has had great success on TV as Henning Mankell's "Wallander," and Danish series "The Killing" proved a huge hit at home and in the U.K, and was remade on AMC under the same name.

Review: Richard Linklater's 'Bernie' Starring Jack Black Is A Harmless, But Charming & Funny Effort

  • By Edward Davis
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  • April 26, 2012 3:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Employing a laid-back, jovial and amiable mien, Richard Linklater's latest effort, the East Texas-set black comedy "Bernie," is not unlike the Austin-based filmmaker himself: affable, eager to please without pandering, and highly likeable. In fact, "Bernie," starring Jack Black as an endearing mortician and well-loved member of his small-town community in Carthage, Texas, is so delightful, and rather wryly comical, it’s easy to be charmed with the picture despite its modest ambitions, small-scale aims and slight nature.

Tribeca Review: 'As Luck Would Have It' Is The Jewel Of The Fest

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 26, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Alex de la Iglesia’s “As Luck Would Have It” features, in supporting roles, Salma Hayek and Carolina Bang, two of the most ravishing and talented Spanish language actresses to ever grace the screen. Most viewers are well aware of Ms. Hayek, who has aged gracefully into Hollywood’s demeaning mother-ghetto for actresses over the age of 35. Few know of Ms. Bang, who was the centerpiece of de la Iglesia’s last film, the criminally-insane “The Last Circus.” Both command the screen with old school Hollywood glamour and mature sexuality, and yet neither manages to obscure the machinations of de la Iglesia’s sharp media satire. This, as Queen once sang long ago, is a kind of magic.

Review: 'Pirates! Band Of Misfits' Is A Treasure Trove Of Visual Wonder

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 26, 2012 12:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
In John Ortved's unauthorized oral history of "The Simpsons," he recounts how an edict was posted in the writers' room of the influential animated series. This had come down from on high, and was probably hard to follow for some of the zanier writers (Conan O'Brien, we're looking in your direction). The note said, simply: "One joke per joke." Clearly this is not something that the good folks at Aardman Animation, the Bristol, England-based animation studio behind "Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and last year's "Arthur Christmas" follow, because their new film, "Pirates! Band of Misfits," crams in so many jokes – visual, verbal, and otherwise – that you sometimes feel like yelling at the projectionist: "Could you pause that? Or at least slow it down?"

Review: An Unwieldy ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ Is Still Endearing, Funny & Smart

  • By The Playlist
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  • April 26, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Funny, touching and occasionally dramatic, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s charming “The Five Year Engagement” falls just short of the modern-day comedy classic category, and yet is deeply entertaining, genuinely amusing and satisfying in the way most shaggy-dog, two-hour-plus comedies are not. Bolstered by a hilarious supporting cast and two genuinely likable leads, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy may feel a little unkempt at times, but the picture has sweet and touching notes to go with the diverting silliness.

Review: 'Citizen Gangster' Hits All The Familiar Notes Of The Bank Robber Subgenre

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 25, 2012 8:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Edwin Alonzo Boyd was one of Canada’s prominent bank robbers following World War II. A splashy, glamorous war vet with a flair for theatrics, he managed to swindle several financial institutions in between two daring prison breaks, all in the name of his wife and children. And yet, the reason why this story hasn’t circulated all that much before “Citizen Gangster” is because Boyd’s story really is a whole lot like any other bank robber’s. Once you’ve seen a few of these movies, there’s not a whole lot of variation.

Review: Discovering People Like Dirty Sex Breaks Juliette Binoche's Brain In 'Elles'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 25, 2012 7:03 PM
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  • 2 Comments
We live in a pretty progressive time where fetishes and other various sexual peccadillos are common knowledge if not comfortably discussed. But in Malgoska Szumowska’s weirdly old fashioned, quasi made-for-TV "Elles," Anne (Juliette Binoche) nearly has a nervous breakdown while researching an article for a magazine when she learns -- gasp! -- that some people pay for dirty sex with prostitutes. No way.

Tribeca Review: Troubling Doc 'Sexy Baby' Looks At The Indoctrination Of Women Into A Porn-Centric World

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 25, 2012 6:32 PM
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  • 8 Comments
“Sexy Baby,” a new documentary premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, is problematic from it’s early, explicit pornographic sequences to its bewildering final shot close-up of an actual newborn baby. Ostensibly, the narrator-less film uses the stories of three separate white girls to illustrate the indoctrination of female objectification and pornography at a young age, though their subject seems awfully broad, and their net entirely too small.

Review: 'Keep The Lights On' A Moving & Engrossing Chronicle Of Two Men In Love

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • April 25, 2012 6:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
With "Keep the Lights On," co-writer/director Ira Sachs has made a triumphant return to Sundance. His latest drama is a beautiful exploration of a relationship’s progression from start to finish. With great tact and depth of feeling, Sachs shows us that the most remarkable thing about any relationship is not the beginning or end but rather the maintenance of what could only unfairly be called a dysfunctional couple. Unlike Sachs’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning "Forty Shades of Blue," which focuses on a singular moment in a marriage’s disintegration, "Keep the Lights On" follows a couple as they struggle to stay together.

Tribeca Review: 'Hysteria' Is The Vibrator Comedy Movie You Can Watch With Your Mom

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 25, 2012 4:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It turns out that all Sabina Spielrein needed to get over her hysteria was not Freud or Jung or the talking cure, but just a really good fingering. Indeed, the course of sexuality and/or psychoanalysis might have been irrevocably altered had Sabina taken a trip to London to visit Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), in "Hysteria," a "based on true events" comedy about the invention of the vibrator. But like any bad lover, the film is heavy on foreplay but when it finally takes its pants off, the resulting encounter is less than satisfying.

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