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The Playlist

Review: 'The Three Stooges' A Limp Homage To A Legendary Comedy Trio

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • April 12, 2012 1:16 PM
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  • 9 Comments
There doesn't seem to be a single pressing reason for the Farrelly Brothers to have made a Three Stooges-less movie titled "The Three Stooges." Bobby and Peter Farrelly's love of the Stooges is well-known, but they should have left well enough alone after "Dumb and Dumber," a superior and certainly easier to swallow Stooges homage. For starters, the three comedians in the Farrellys' new and more direct tribute's title roles just don't have any comedic chemistry. Geographically, the Farrellys' trio may be close-knit but beyond that, there's nothing to suggest that Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos are an organically united group. It should be noted that there's also nothing categorically wrong with the Farrellys reusing their idols' routines. But if the actors playing the Stooges can't form a good, cohesive troupe of comedians, resurrecting Moe, Larry and Curly is pointless.

Review: 'L!fe Happens' One Tiresome Subplot At A Time, None Of Them Worthwhile

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 11, 2012 3:55 PM
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  • 0 Comments
In a recent New York Times profile by Margy Rochlin, Krysten Ritter, ex-model and co-writer/star of “L!fe Happens,” talks about the film as her labor of love. She flinches when mixed reviews are mentioned, claiming the film “shouldn’t be reviewed” and “All that anybody should say about this film is ‘Good for you, girls, go get ‘em.’ -- and that it’s adorable.”

Review: 'The Cabin In The Woods' Is A Smart, Witty Blast For Genre Fans

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 11, 2012 12:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Almost no genre (bar perhaps the romantic-comedy) revolves around formula as heavily as the horror film. Obviously there are sub-categories: the haunted-house film, the zombie flick, the vampire movie. But a disproportionate amount of them involves a group of horny teens going to a remote location, taking off clothes, making stupid decisions, and getting picked off one by one, whether by a man in a mask, or by some kind of supernatural creature or force. So on hearing the title, and indeed basic premise, of "The Cabin In The Woods," it's hard not to be a little downhearted. Is this the same old cheapo horror flick we've seen dozens, if not hundreds of times?

Review: 'Lockout' Is The B-Movie You've Been Waiting For All Year

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 11, 2012 9:02 AM
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  • 7 Comments
In the futurist world of "Lockout," most deadly convicts will be confined to MS-One, a maximum security prison floating in outer space. It’s not long from now (2079, to be exact) strongly suggesting the cultural shift in our society’s interest in interstellar exploration has gone from possibly exploring other planets to merely depositing our human detritus into the galaxy’s gaping maw. It’s a good thing most of these cryosleeping convicts are deranged, irredeemable nutcases, right?

Review: Director Pablo Larrain's Continues His Dark, Comedic Preoccupation With Chile's Tainted History In 'Post Mortem'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 10, 2012 5:58 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Where did the American Independent cinema of the '70s go, exactly? Did it fizzle and die, or did George Lucas scare it away with his mammoth sci-fi extravaganza? No one knows for sure, but there's something suspicious about the films of Chilean director Pablo Larrain. "Tony Manero," his debut feature, looked and felt like one of those movies, with a more brutal story. In fact, the main character even kind of looked like a young Al Pacino circa "Panic at Needle Park" or "Dog Day Afternoon." The story was political, focusing on Chile during the Pinochet regime, but the director was smart enough to let it play in the background while the main character did his own thing, that being a disco John Travolta impression. No preachy dialogue, no condescending messages. It wasn't a perfect film, but it was a new, skilled director slamming his arms on the table and ordering everyone to take notice. Unfortunately, the film was moderately embraced by critics and mostly wallowed in relative obscurity. A mere 2 years later, the director has decided to attack again with "Post Mortem," a refined and more understated piece, with the same style and code of ethics of his former film.

Review: Uneven Documentary ‘Hit So Hard’ Can’t Decide If It’s A Patty Schemel Portrait Or Hole Alt-Rock Examination

  • By The Playlist
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  • April 10, 2012 2:57 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Patty Schemel is best remembered as the drummer of the alternative rock group Hole, fronted by erstwhile alt-queen rocker, now-notorious loudmouth Courtney Love. For top level context, Schemel laid the thunderous beat on both of Hole’s most popular and well-known records, including 1994’s Live Through This, which was released just four days after frontwoman Courtney Love's husband, Kurt Cobain, was found dead in their home. This is all well-documented. What only the most hardcore of rock aficionados will remember was that Schemel’s drum parts on 1997’s follow-up record Celebrity Skin were replaced by a session drummer at the behest of producer Michael Beinhorn (knob-twiddler for records like Soundgarden's Superunknown, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Mother's Milk and Grave Dancers Union by Soul Asylum).

Review: 'Here' With Ben Foster Is A Punishingly Slow Film With Little Substance Or Soul

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 10, 2012 2:57 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Despite naturalistic performances by leads Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal ("Incendies," "Coriolanus") and impressive cinematography by Lol Crawley ("Ballast," "Four Lions"), Braden King's "Here" is a maundering relationship movie with few stakes and even less to say.

Review: 'The Lady' A Glossy, Poignant But Ultimately Underwhelming Portrait Of Pro-Democracy Activist Aung San Suu Kyi

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • April 10, 2012 2:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If there’s one thing that Luc Besson proved with “The Messenger,” it’s that his melodramatic, spectacle-laden sensibility is not particularly well-suited to serious or credible stories. Nevertheless, the director mostly abets himself of making the same mistakes twice with “The Lady,” a poignant if underwhelming portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese expat who became a pro-democracy activist in the late 1980s, as Rangoon struggled under the tyranny of a totalitarian military regime. Aided by terrific performances by David Thewlis and especially Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, Besson’s “The Lady” is a glossy prestige picture that’s appropriately inspiring, but some may find its stiff-lipped nobility slightly too bloodless to leave a lasting impression.

Review: 'The Samaritan' Never Quite Overcomes Its Audacious, Questionable Twist

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 9, 2012 4:57 PM
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  • 8 Comments
It's difficult to discuss "The Samaritan" without revealing the noted plot turn nearly halfway through, but consider this an attempt. The Canadian thriller, currently available on VOD, concerns an ex-con named Foley. Foley's lost twenty five years in prison after murdering his partner, a decision borne out of Foley regretfully picking his own poison in a life-or-death situation. Living with the memory of killing his close associate and the idea that he essentally gave up a quarter of a century to live, Foley is unstuck in time, visiting his old stomping grounds the way the guilty frequent graveyards.

Review: 'Your Brother. Remember?' A Touching Trip Down Memory Lane

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 5, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Normally, something like Zachary Oberzan's “Flooding With Love for the Kid” is a concept to be scoffed at: the director, in the tiny confines of his apartment, adapted the novel “Rambo” was based on and played all of the characters himself. It sounds crude and generally unimpressive; a novelty destined for YouTube and nothing more. But ‘Flooding’ contains too much love, depth, and dedication to be so easily dismissed -- and though it likely still has its detractors (think of how many frustrated filmmakers bubbled with jealous ire), critics and audiences were tickled with Oberzan’s ability to not only nail the essence of childhood playtime, but to compose legitimately affecting sequences (you’ll laugh, you’ll cry) with so few resources.

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