The Playlist

Review: Vintage Footage In Sigur Ros Concert Doc 'Inni' Teases At A Much More Interesting Movie

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 25, 2011 4:28 AM
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Sigur Ros has never needed much of a big stage production to get the power of their expansive, orchestral and otherworldly music across in concert. When this writer saw them perform at the intimate Théatre Maisonneuve in Montreal circa the release of Takk, they opened the show with the title track, a giant white screen in front of the stage obscuring the band, who were backlit, casting huge shadows as the music swelled. As they transitioned into "Glosoli," the screen slowly raised, revealing the band, and really that was all they needed to completely have the crowd in the palm of their hand. While Sigur Ros' rising popularity has allowed them -- and forced them, to a certain degree -- to employ projections and other big stage novelties, the music has always done more than any fancy lighting rig could. This dynamic is clearly displayed in the band's solid "Heima" documentary, which tracked them traveling through Iceland and playing acoustic concerts in small and remote towns, with their songs containing the same power and passion as they do in their fuller bodied, large-stage incarnations.

LFF '11 Review: Rebecca Hall Chiller 'The Awakening' Is Flawed, But Also Kind Of A Blast

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 25, 2011 3:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It might seem ingracious to complain, but film festivals can sometimes be something of a slog. For every transcendent piece of cinema, there are two or three well-meaning, firmly mediocre pictures clogged with mental illness, child abuse and miserable sex. Which is exactly why most film festivals mix it up a little, with a midnight genre strand, or just introducing something a little more...fun into the mix.

Review: 'The Green' A Too Familiar & Predictable Tale Of A Couple Facing Crisis

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 25, 2011 2:01 AM
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No matter how “evolved” we may be as a society, there’s always the off-chance that someone, in some culture, is completely flummoxed by the evidence of progress with which others have grown familiar. So the fact that “The Green” centers on a reasonably attractive gay male couple isn’t really worth a second glance for most of us, but there must be acceptance as to those who might find this, at worst, an odd, intriguing novelty of sorts.
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Book Review: 'Pauline Kael: A Life In The Dark' Is A Compelling Look At The Famed Critic

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 24, 2011 4:24 AM
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Pauline Kael famously once said that people keep asking her to write a memoir, but she had to stress to them that she already had – her life was in her work, in her vivid, long-form essays and critiques (most notably for The New Yorker) on her favorite subject: film. As Brian Kellow's new biography, thrillingly written and exhaustively researched shows, there was a whole lot more to Kael that what was in her reviews.
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Review: Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures Of Tintin' Is A Gloriously Enjoyable Mo-Cap Marvel

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 24, 2011 4:05 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Across his 40 year career as Hollywood's most beloved filmmaker, Steven Spielberg has tried his hand at many different things -- the blockbuster thrill ride, the family film, the comedy, the war film, hardcore science-fiction, serious dramas and whatever it was that "The Terminal" was, a diverse range of pictures united by that certain Spielberg je-ne-sais-quoi. But there's something he's never tackled directly himself; the animated film. Sure, he's produced TV cartoons like "Animaniacs," and even the occasional big-screen one, like "An American Tail" and "We're Back," but for the most part, the Bearded One has always preferred live action to ink and pixels.

Review: 'The Double' Is A Moth-Eaten Bag Of Cold War Clichés & Implausible Plot Twists

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 24, 2011 2:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments
There are few movies whose tone, intent, and general content can be easily discerned from the front chosen for the opening title cards. But by the end of the title cards for "The Double," a new spy thriller starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace, you know what kind of movie you're in for: the blocky font flicks by, as if being decoded by some unseen force.; it's such a hackneyed stylish tic for this kind of enterprise, used in everything from direct-to-video thrillers to episodes of "24," that it was effectively lampooned in the Coen Brothers' send up "Burn After Reading" as yet another goofy aspect of the genre (watch them below).

Review: Roland Emmerich's 'Anonymous' Still Manages To Destroy Something -- Its Own Authenticity

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • October 24, 2011 2:00 AM
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  • 11 Comments
Combining the life-meets-art origin stories of “Ray” with the history-as-high melodrama of “Braveheart,” “Anonymous” marks a departure from director Roland Emmerich’s previous work as a purveyor of blockbuster destruction, but he still manages to destroy any credible sense of history with his speculative portrait of the man who might have been responsible for the works of William Shakespeare. Emmerich, casting his vote for the “Oxfordian” view of the playwright’s actual identity, turns what could have been an intelligent and provocative examination of fact and fiction into an overwrought and cretinous historical thriller that’s too busy disappearing into flashbacks and other frivolous digressions to bother discovering any actual truth.

FNC ’11: Alexander Sokurov’s 'Faust' An Odd, Dense Adaptation Of Goethe's Classic

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 23, 2011 6:38 AM
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By Nikola Grozdanovic reporting from the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal.

NYFF Review: 'Goodbye First Love' Looks At Young Romance Without Affection

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 23, 2011 6:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Television and movies love to indulge us in pre-adulthood nostalgia. Whether the bait is loose (young hooligans causing a ruckus) or more specific and event-oriented (prom, which we've seen less of lately because, well, prom sucks), the powers that be tug at our heartstrings and force us to look back at a time free of major responsibilities and full of fresh experiences. The glazed schmaltz can be off-putting for some, but occasionally sincerity shines through and we get something that captures the emotions extraordinarily well (for this writer's money, "The Virgin Suicides" and "The Girl" are uneven but nail certain feelings on the head). But if we look back without this fondness, what are these stories? Are they merely just happenings that somehow affected the person we become, or are they just the product of naive children that didn't know better? Mia Hansen-Løve's "Goodbye First Love" attempts a critical look at a teenager's first relationship without wooing us first with their blithe beginnings, but has very little to say about the topic.

LFF '11 Review: 'Wild Bill' Is An Immensely Likable Directorial Debut From Dexter Fletcher

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 23, 2011 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
For whatever reason, directorial debuts by British character actors tend to lean towards the gritty kitchen-sink drama; Tim Roth, Gary Oldman and, more recently, Paddy Considine have all broken their filmmaking cherry with uncompromisingly tough, bleak subject matter. Considering that it involves abandonment, council estates and the risk of being taken into care, one might be forgiven for expecting the same from Dexter Fletcher's first film, "Wild Bill." But then, Fletcher's best known for being one of the central quartet, alongside Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng and Nick Moran, in Guy Ritchie's debut "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," and for appearing frequently in Matthew Vaughn's pictures, so could Fletcher have turned out some kind of guns and geezers movie instead?

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