Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

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

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • June 5, 2012 10:01 AM
  • |
  • 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.
More: Review

Review: Fear & Terrorism Mix In Compact, Solid Thriller 'Wallander: The Revenge'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • June 2, 2012 12:24 PM
  • |
  • 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.
More: Review

Review: 'Cellmates' An Unpleasant Racial Dramedy Featuring A Fading Tom Sizemore

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • June 1, 2012 5:05 PM
  • |
  • 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
  • |
  • June 1, 2012 4:04 PM
  • |
  • 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
  • |
  • June 1, 2012 3:04 PM
  • |
  • 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
  • |
  • May 31, 2012 2:19 PM
  • |
  • 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
  • |
  • May 31, 2012 1:01 PM
  • |
  • 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.

Review: 'Snow White & the Huntsman' Is A Beautiful Slog

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • May 31, 2012 10:10 AM
  • |
  • 21 Comments
2012 has already delivered one big-budget movie based on the classic Grimm Brothers' fairy tale "Snow White." Earlier this spring arrived Tarsem's fizzy, Bollywood-ish "Mirror Mirror," which saw Julia Roberts vamping it up as the evil queen, surrounded by the most cheesily phony-looking sets this side of a Hammer horror movie -- if the movie had been any lighter it would have blown off the screen. And this week lands another: "Snow White & the Huntsman," an oppressively grim (pun very much intended) take on the fairy tale that instead favors mood, menace, and a kind of earthy grittiness, over the airier "Mirror Mirror." The problem is, that for all its frequently jaw-dropping visual panache, in narrative terms it sputters and stalls, sagging under the weight of its visual opulence.

Review: Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' Is A Gorgeous, Fascinating Muddle Of Ideas That Can't Stick The Landing

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • May 30, 2012 7:11 PM
  • |
  • 61 Comments
Ambition is a rare thing in movies these days, especially when it comes to summer blockbuster fare. There might be ambitions to blow up bigger things, or include more bad guys, or feature more stars, but in terms of real ambition -- telling big stories, about big subjects, on a huge canvas -- only a handful of filmmakers are really playing ball. Far more so than its predecessor "Alien," which is, after all, pretty much a haunted house designed to scare the living hell out of you, Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" has big ambitions. It wants to ask the big questions -- where do we come from? Why are we here? -- while also serving as a 3D, CGI-filled thrill ride.

Cannes Review: Sprawling 'Hemingway & Gellhorn' Worthy Of The Rough & Tumble Life Of Two Great Writers

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • May 26, 2012 1:50 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Ernest Hemingway is the kind of grandiose figure that it seems it would be difficult to contain within the framework of a feature film, and the decision to pair his life with that of his ex-wife Martha Gellhorn only adds to the task at hand. But with the leisure of a two-and-a-half hour running time, a starry ensemble, the guiding hands of director Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff," "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being") and the support of HBO, "Hemingway & Gellhorn" is a messy, but still worthwhile film about the two writers that does a strong job of bringing their complex, explosive and committed relationship to the big screen.

Email Updates

Recent Comments