The Playlist

Review: 'Killing Bono' Is A Charmingly Low-Rent Rock 'n' roll Comedy

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 2, 2011 3:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"Killing Bono," with its suggestive title and darkish, "Taxi Driver"-esque opening sequence, begins with a man (Ben Barnes), complete with twisty goatee and greasy hair tumbling down his forehead, grumbling to himself about how he was robbed of fame. Instead of himself, he explains, to no one in particular, some schoolmates have risen to become international pop sensations. This, as the grumbling suggests, does not sit well with him. He sees a swarm of people and grinds his car to a halt. When he opens the door, he points a gun at a man (Martin McCann) being swarmed – he's wearing bug-eyed sunglasses and has a sharp bob of dark hair. It's the titular rock star. And as the screen goes black, we hear a gunshot…or maybe it's just a camera snapping…

Review: 'Tower Heist' Is A Slickly Made, Socially Conscious Romp

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 1, 2011 1:03 AM
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  • 10 Comments
With major protests occupying cities all over the globe and unease about the financial stability of the establishments who swear to protect our hard-earned money reaching an all-time high, it's sort of interesting that "Tower Heist," a ludicrously expensive big budget commodity, can offer some kind of catharsis to ease our worried souls. But, this comedic thriller, which stars a bunch of movie stars that make more in one movie than most Americans make for their entire lives, does just that: it lets us laugh off our neuroses (and, for 104 minutes, that might be enough). The fact that it's a reasonably entertaining, slickly produced trifle is the icing on the cake.

Review: ‘Like Crazy’ A Familiar Tale Of Impossible Love, Well Told

  • By The Playlist
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  • October 28, 2011 7:41 AM
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  • 6 Comments
This is a reprint of our review from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival by correspondent James Rocchi.

Review: 'Urbanized' An Educational & Enjoyable Look At City Design

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 28, 2011 2:58 AM
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  • 1 Comment
For those unacquainted with documentarian Gary Hustwit, his small body of work may seem like bland pills that are hard to swallow. To date he has made a movie about a font ("Helvetica"), our relationship with manufactured objects ("Objectified"), and now urban design ("Urbanized"). These aren't the most enticing subjects -- they all have a vague stench of "homework" or "PBS" -- but no one is more aware of these pre-judgements better than the filmmaker, who has managed to confound expectations and instead compose films that are enjoyable and, at times, very fascinating. He continues in this mode with "Urbanized," the final entry in his "design trilogy."

Review: 'Silver Bullets' Is The Half-Assed Mumblecore/Horror Mash-Up Nobody Wanted

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 28, 2011 2:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"Silver Bullets," the new movie by one man band Joe Swanberg (who writes, directs, stars in and edits all of his micro-budgeted features), is fairly ambitious, especially since Swanberg is a godhead in the mumblecore film genre, a movement largely defined by its lackluster commitment to, well, anything. He's attempting to wed the mumblecore aesthetic (or is it lack-of-aesthetic?) -- low-fi camerawork, naturalistic performances, unflattering nudity -- with the psychological intensity of conventional horror films (although, as you'd expect, Swanberg's definition of horror is more neurotic and introspective).
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Review: '13' Remake Proves To Be One Unlucky Number (To Put It Mildly)

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 27, 2011 8:21 AM
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  • 4 Comments
It’s unfortunate, but there’s a Movie Content Hierarchy. Great filmmakers don’t pretend this exists -- Darren Aronofsky makes a horror movie and genre-hating critics love it, and former Fangoria mainstay David Cronenberg maintains his integrity and themes of perversion and body modification while becoming a boutique festival filmmaker. But more often than not, directors, screenwriter and producers are beholden to the unimaginative thought of “this is how it is meant to be done.” More specifically, films from other parts of the world, particularly smaller ones, have their own vocabulary, their own rhythms and idiosyncrasies. Gela Babluani’s “13 Tzameti” is one of those films, a slow burn thriller from France shot in stark black and white and featuring minimal accoutrement in terms of score, outsized performances, or onscreen violence. It’s a picture that aims low but with laser-sharp precision, to the point where you felt that Babluani was a major storytelling talent with little affection for sentimentality or empty showmanship.

Review: Nonsensical 'In Time' Will Waste Your Precious Hours & Minutes

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 27, 2011 4:03 AM
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  • 7 Comments
"In Time" is the kind of movie that literally kills off its most interesting thematic element and character about 10 minutes into the picture. To bring you up to speed, Andrew Niccol's latest sci-fi venture takes place in a future world where everyone is genetically programmed to stop aging at 25 years old, and moreover, time is used as currency. But that's not all. In addition to being able to buy everything from coffee to cars to prostitutes with the hour and minutes displayed glaringly in a digital readout on your forearm, once it runs out, you die right on the spot. A class system has emerged, of course, with the "rich" gaining virtual immortality and living the high life in an enclosed city, while the "poor" are left scrapping for enough time to stay alive in their derelict ghetto.

Review: 'Janie Jones' Gets All The Notes Right In The Most Boring Song You Could Imagine

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 27, 2011 2:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Take the worst successful bar band you can think of (it was Nickleback, don’t lie). Downgrade their talent about halfway. Now imagine the sheer amount of bands that fulfill that criteria, currently on the road shuffling from bar to bar, hoping to get lucky and have that one moment where the public puts down that one brand of shitty vanilla and samples them instead. Barely alive from a somewhat negligible record company relationship, their van heads from motel to motel, barely scraping by as the bandmates drown their free time in a sea of cheap booze and disinterested groupies.

Review: Slick Bollywood Behemoth 'RA. One' Delivers Fleeting Pleasures

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • October 27, 2011 1:58 AM
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  • 8 Comments
While Hollywood holds the world's audience enraptured, unleashing big, burly CGI extravaganzas, burgeoning international companies are revving up to put a dent into the market. Enter "RA. One," Bollywood's most expensive production and arguably the first straightforward superhero film to come out of India's massively prolific movie factory. As with any tentpole (with a warm reception pouring in from the Indian press, news of a sequel in the works are inevitable), the film comes packaged with a colossal star -- Shahrukh Khan, probably most familiar to American viewer as the star of 2010's heavy-handed drama "My Name Is Khan"). Equally important is the merchandising push, which can challenge even the most gregarious stateside rollout (the Wikipedia page expounds on coffee mugs, Happy Meals, a video game, game tournaments, action figures, comics -- major steps for an Indian film with an eye on the world market). So what you're probably asking yourself is, can director Anubhav Sinha's "RA. One" keep up with the big boys? With a 2 hour 40 minute running time and several standout set pieces, it certainly can, meanwhile sacrificing the bare minimum of character development and delivering a sluggish second act that marries "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Bicentennial Man" with little success.

Review: 'Puss In Boots' A Fun Adventure & Worthwhile Spinoff From The Lagging 'Shrek' Franchise

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • October 26, 2011 10:33 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Where “Shrek” eventually scared audiences away with its ever-expanding ensemble and pop culture references culled from current events, “Puss in Boots” streamlines its cast of characters and aims for something more straightforward, in the process not only recapturing the oddball magic of the first two “Shrek” films but the more classical charms of DreamWorks pictures like “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” After juggling too many characters with too few new ideas in “Shrek The Third,” director Chris Miller takes advantage of the opportunity to explore his own world in the Puss-centric spinoff, creating an adventure that’s both cinematic and intimate, never sacrificing sincere emotion for the short-lived glory of a good punch line or set piece.

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