Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

L.A. Film Fest Review: In 'Teddy Bear,' Bodybuilders Are People Too; Show Them Some Love

  • By Emma Bernstein
  • |
  • June 27, 2012 6:02 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Where the phrase “Teddy Bear” implies a certain squashy cuddliness, the film’s subject is anything but. At least on the outside. But, then again, bears aren’t that cuddly in real life either. Danish Director Mads Matthiesen developed this feature from his acclaimed 2007 short, “Dennis,” which began his exploration of the emotional resonance of an ultra-masculine figure in an incredibly emasculating situation. In the full-length version of the story, the man’s humiliation and powerlessness evolve into the quiet self-confidence of a person who has found acceptance. Upon peeling back this teddy bear’s layers of fun skin, we begin to see the soft cotton that gives him his true shape.

L.A. Film Fest Review: 'The Iran Job' Is A Warm, Winning Tale of One Basketball Player's Experience In Iran

  • By Katie Walsh
  • |
  • June 27, 2012 4:59 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
During the Q&A after the screening of “The Iran Job,” director Till Schauder described how the idea for a documentary about “journeymen” professional basketball players in Iran came to him before he had a subject that could carry his documentary. His wife and producer Sarah Nodjoumi is Iranian-American, and the political repercussions surrounding these athletes pursuing a dream to play professionally, anywhere, intrigued the filmmaking duo. After starting to film the documentary with a few players who were “nice enough,” they happened upon an American player named Kevin Sheppard, from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and instantly knew he was their man. And aren’t they lucky that they did find Kevin, because “The Iran Job” could be much different if it weren’t for Kevin’s big hearted friendliness and disarming sense of humor that obliterates cultural barriers. The result is a documentary that combines elements of the sports movie, fish-out-of-water story, political film and personal portrait that is an entertaining and fascinating look at this one man in this country.

L.A. Film Fest Review: 'Pincus' Is An Ambiguously Formatted, Inconclusive Study Of Spirituality And Self-Destruction

  • By Emma Bernstein
  • |
  • June 27, 2012 2:55 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
One of the best things about film festivals is that they provide an opportunity for smaller, perhaps lesser-known movies to be shown to a considerable audience, and to receive a certain amount of buzz from publicists, press, and fans. Sometimes, festival planning committees choose these independent films because they are quite experimental and thus bring new talent onto the film industry’s radar. Whether testing unconventional narrative formats, employing unusual filming techniques, or using unknowns or non-actors, typical festival fare is anything but what we’ve come to expect at the multiplex.

Review: 'Walk Away Renee' A Manic, Deep Look Into Mother & Son

  • By Christopher Bell
  • |
  • June 27, 2012 12:09 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Born out of a truck load of home videos, answering machine recordings, and photographs, Jonathan Caouette's 2003 autobiographical "Tarnation" was a dearly personal and often frightening, no holds-barred look into a family torn apart by a tortured past. Cobbled together with iMovie before YouTube was even a twinkle in a vlogger's eye, the film bleeds honesty and its fearless look at the subjects (including the director himself) can be downright terrifying at times. But it wasn't just a family arguing or bitterly digging into old wounds -- Caouette had a manic, assaulting editing style and a penchant for some truly disturbing experimental sequences, an aesthetic that exhibited their emotional states in a fresh, genuinely perturbing way.

Review: The South Will Rise, But Not Like You Expected, In The Pagan, Powerful 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'

  • By James Rocchi
  • |
  • June 26, 2012 4:02 PM
  • |
  • 11 Comments
Written and directed by Benh Zeitlin, whose short, "Glory at Sea," was shot through with purpose and promise, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is as stirring and striking a film as you could wish for. Shot and set in a Louisiana community called The Bathtub, on the wrong side of the levees that stop the water from encroaching on civilization, it's at heart the story of a little girl, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who lives with her father Wink (Dwight Henry).

L.A. Film Fest Review: 'It's A Disaster' Is A Darkly Hilarious Apocalyptic Dramedy That's Anything But Disastrous

  • By Katie Walsh
  • |
  • June 26, 2012 10:58 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Real time, one setting films are a tricky feat to pull off, stumping even some of the most accomplished directors (have you seen “Carnage”?), but Todd Berger does it with panache in his directorial sophomore feature, a clever take on the apocalypse film, “It’s A Disaster.” Assembling a cast of eight actors in one house for a film that’s part relationship dramedy and part end of the world movie, Berger keeps the setting fresh and the pace moving in this film that takes a humorous look at the problems both epic and trivial that threaten to ruin lives. Based on the raptuous response from packed houses at the Los Angeles Film Festival this week, Berger and co. have succeeded in spades.

L.A. Film Fest Review: Entertaining Romp 'Magic Mike' Will Put Its Spell On You... And Shake It Like Nobody's Business

  • By Katie Walsh
  • |
  • June 25, 2012 12:16 AM
  • |
  • 5 Comments
There’s just something about Channing Tatum. Clearly, he’s got that magic touch (why else would Paramount be reshooting “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” to add more Chan?), a certain je ne sais quoi that would inspire veteran auteur Stephen Soderbergh to bring his early life story as a Florida stripper to the silver screen, while making the ultimate male stripper movie in the process. It just so happens to be a really good film too, one that’s about more than just shakin’ what the good Lord bestowed on Mr. Tatum and pals.

L.A. Film Fest Review: 'Neil Young Journeys' Is An Exhilarating & Emotional Ride With The Rock Star

  • By Emma Bernstein
  • |
  • June 21, 2012 4:23 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Neil Young is a salty dude. Forthcoming, irreverent, introspective, and witty, even as he approaches his mid-sixties, the musician has lost none of his rockability. The man is still writing new songs, for crying out loud, now nearly 50 years after the inception of Buffalo Springfield made him an international sensation. Jonathan Demme’s new rock documentary, “Neil Young Journeys,” is the third collaboration between the director and the musician, following 2006’s “Heart of Gold” and “Trunk Show” in 2009. The two first met when Young was composing the closing song for Demme’s 1993 film, “Philadelphia,” and this trilogy was conceived of not too long after. In this last installment – part concert video, part interview-on-the-go – Young, and his saltiness, are given their full due in an electrifying rock doc that will make you want to stand up and cheer.

Review: 'Mary Pickford: The Muse Of The Movies' An Adoring Look At America's Sweetheart

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • June 21, 2012 3:01 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
What does it mean to be on the A-list? In addition to being a box office draw, which is a must, those within that rareified air can often call the shots creatively on their own movies, command a high salary and even develop their own projects. But while she's primarily remembered now as "America's sweetheart" or "The girl with curls," few actors then or now have had the popularity, power and influence of silent film star Mary Pickford. One of early cinema's hugest box office draws, an innovator in film acting, a founder of a major studio and a pop culture icon whose image still resonates to this day, Nicholas Eliopoulos' "Mary Pickford: Muse Of The Movies" is a loving tribute and expansive look at Pickford's life, loves and career.
More: Review

Review: 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Is A Surprisingly Solid Mix of History & Horror

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • June 21, 2012 8:30 AM
  • |
  • 10 Comments
One of the biggest question marks of the summer movie season has been "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," Timur Bekmambetov's $70 million R-rated historical mash-up that sees the sixteenth President of the United States fighting undead creatures and the evils of slavery, all at the same time (in 3D, no less). Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the screenplay (with uncredited help from Simon Kinberg), and produced by top ghoul Tim Burton, the trailers and television spots didn't completely convey whether or not it was supposed to be funny or scary, serious or silly. It turns out that (brilliantly) -- it's both. Somehow the movie manages to be fun and tongue-in-cheek without ever seeming disrespectful. It's a winning combination of history and horror where Honest Abe is able to kick serious ass.

Email Updates

Recent Comments