The Playlist

Tribeca Review: Upsetting, Eye-Opening 'The Revisionists' Draws Pivotal Line In The Sand In Regard To Education

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2012 6:19 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Where to start when discussing something like "The Revisionaries," a film that's really only controversial if you feel the idea to provide an idiot with a pulpit to preach from is a good one? The doc follows the fifteen-person Texas Board Of Education, an organization dedicated to reforming the state's high school textbooks over the course of a few years, allowing for a host of politically-motivated edits. You see where this is going.

Review: 'Ballroom Dancer' A Fascinating Dance Doc About The Quest For Perfection & Recapturing Past Glory

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2012 4:36 PM
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  • 0 Comments
“Ballroom Dancer” begins with black-and-white footage of dancer Slavik Kryklyvyy in 2000, on top of the world and dominating the World Latin Dance Championships. Kryklyvyy is lithe and seductive at the age of 24, slicing through routines with his equally skilled partner and lover Joanna Leunis. With his high cheekbones, piercing eyes, and a matinee-idol handsomeness that puts Johnny Depp to shame, he seems almost built from the ground up for success.

Tribeca Review: 'Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie' Is The Sleaze-Filled Celebration He Deserves

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2012 3:44 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A charlatan, a ringmaster, and, at his most charitable, an irresponsible pig. This was Morton Downey Jr., and “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” is probably the film he deserved. Destined to provoke knowing nods from his fanbase, and predictable tsk-tsks from his detractors, “Evocateur” examines the seeds that were planted in the late eighties when “The Morton Downey Jr. Show” hit the airwaves to a cacophony of pop culture noise.

Review: 'The Day He Arrives' Languidly Strives For Poignancy

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • April 21, 2012 2:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The primary reason why "Groundhog Day" works (besides the casting, pacing, easygoing charm and humor) is that the little town of Punxsutawney is the physical embodiment of what we all feel occasionally: a startling inability, even for a moment, to tell one day from the next. Call it a forced sense of deja vu, it's what Seongjun (Jun-Sang Yu), the lead of Hong Sang-soo's patient and trying "The Day He Arrives" is experiencing.

Tribeca Review: 'Jack And Diane' An Unsatisfying & Empty Relationship Movie

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 21, 2012 9:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Though the descriptor "werewolf-lesbian-psycho-drama" piqued immense interest when word first got out, Bradley Rust Gray's "Jack And Diane" doesn't follow through on its weirdo/intriguing premise. Little work is done from the get-go to make the emotional connection between the titular characters feel believable (a huge error considering the movie's core is based around this relationship), and without that rational groundwork, the film feels forced and hollow for most of its duration.

Review: '96 Minutes' Is About An Hour And A Half Too Long

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2012 5:41 PM
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  • 7 Comments
You might as well be prepared: “96 Minutes” is one of those multi-strand indie movies where the chronology is distorted, and you spend the runtime putting the pieces back together. You may be interested in just how every piece fits, how we got to a girl bleeding out in the backseat of a car (probably not). But it doesn’t matter, since the same complaint for this film is the one that can be used for others of its ilk, that being that none of these stories hold up on their own. But forget all that: we need to talk about Kevin.

Tribeca Review: Thai Existentialist Hitman Film 'Headshot' Proves The Genre Still Has A Pulse

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • April 20, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The hitman genre has been done to death. If cinema can be a reflection of the times we live in, and a recorded piece of history of what the filmmakers are concerned with at the time of inception and production, then it’s amazing any of us are still alive. When done well, the genre can be a lot of fun – as well as dramatic, escapist, cool and artful – but there’s just too many professional killers running amok in the movies.

Review: 'Penumbra' Flirts With Early Argento, Settles For Late-Period Dario

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment
“We are surrounded by monsters!” bellows the deep-voiced heavy metal singer in the end credit music for “Penumbra,” the new Spanish-language thriller opening this week. Given the subject matter, he may be drawing too broad a picture, given that so much of this singleminded scarefest relies on perspective, itself crooked in some ways.
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Tribeca Review: 'Polisse' A Gritty Police Procedural That Can't Avoid Soap Opera Theatrics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 20, 2012 9:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
On paper, a film investigating the inner workings of the police department seems like an odd choice for the Cannes Film Festival which prides itself on breaking new voices in cinema. Certainly, the film world has never lacked in depictions of a cop's life in all its difficult detail. But "Polisse" brings something slightly different to the equation. Inspired by a documentary the singularly named director Maiwenn saw on television about the Child Protection Unit, she set out to do her own research and based on that she's spun "Polisse." No, this isn't just a two hour episode of "Law & Order: SVU" (though at its worst, it does evoke some of the shriller moments of that show), instead, it's a largely unflinching look at the harrowing crimes this group of undersung officers investigate on a day to day to basis and the repercussions it has on their personal lives.

Tribeca Review: Haphazard 'Your Sister's Sister' Ambles Towards Drama With Little Consequence

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 19, 2012 7:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Independent filmmaking has become somewhat hyper-obsessed in the last few years with "realism." Lighting rigs have been put away, available light filling in where it will, and scripts tossed out for sketches, shaped by improvisation in an attempt to capture as close to an approximation of real human interaction as possible. It's an admirable approach, and not just limited to "mumblecore" movies -- Terrence Malick has followed this path pretty closely throughout this career. However, the risk in this style is that if it's too loose, it can structurally crumble the emotional and narrative focus. And for "Humpday" director Lynn Shelton's "Your Sister's Sister," that's the unfortunate result of the ten day shoot on the film that gathered together a game cast -- Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass -- and sets them loose on a good dramatic premise, unfortunately ill-served by a far too casual approach.

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