Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

Review: French Thriller 'The Assault' Presents Propulsive Action, But Little Humanity

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • April 4, 2012 3:58 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Civic duty comes into play with Julien Leclercq's "The Assault", the new French actioner opening this week. Filmmaking is not a hobby, nor is it broad labor, and one has a responsibility to the truth, both superficially and subtextually. To damn "The Assault" with the accusation of irresonsibility is broad and not entirely civil. It's a blistering cinematic procedural, intense and upsetting in equal measures. And while, superficially, a procedural is "enough," both the art form and the true-life account of what's dramatized in the film demand more.
More: Review

Review: Guy Maddin's 'Keyhole' Beautiful And Brassy...But Frustratingly Sealed

  • By James Rocchi
  • |
  • April 4, 2012 12:05 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Let us pause, then, to contemplate the fate and fortunes of the director who does not have his or her eye set on the five-picture deal, the glossy franchise, the production wing in the bungalow offices of some major studio; what becomes of the director who only wants to make art and make it well? Canada's Guy Maddin clearly has no eye on commercial success -- rumor has it that his next feature might actually be in color -- and instead prefers to stand at the edge and peer into the abyss to look for what's next. This is a unique vantage point, to be sure, but it's also perilous if one should fall; "Keyhole" is both too much and too little, a crowded smorgasbord of genre picture tropes and haunted house tricks that leaves your eyes and brain distended with both far too much to absorb and far too little to sustain.

Review: The (Mostly) Delightful 'Damsels In Distress' A Welcome Return By Whit Stillman

  • By James Rocchi
  • |
  • April 4, 2012 11:05 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
From the moment the Sony Pictures Classics logo pops up not in the usual blue -- but in cupcake frosting pink -- you know that Whit Stillman's first film in 13 years (!) is going to be something special. While word from Venice -- where the film closed the festival before heading to TIFF -- was good, the question to be answered was whether or not Stillman's style and cinematic persona would stand up in a filmmaking landscape that has changed immensely since "Last Days of Disco." Well, let there be no doubt: Stillman is just as enjoyable as when we last met him those many years ago and "Damsels In Distress" finds the director with lots (and lots and lots) left to say.

Review: 'Detention' Is Like A Narrative, Peyote-Fueled Manga Adaptation Of 'I Love The 90s'

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • April 3, 2012 2:57 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
What kind of movie is “Detention?” In this film, a young actor named Parker Bagley plays Billy Nolan, a high school jock who hides the truth from friends and enemies about his own half-fly DNA. He vomits acid and springs wings at inopportune moments after spending a large portion of his childhood trying to hide his alien mutation by wearing a giant television set over his hand. At the midway point of the film, we realize Billy Nolan is only a supporting character, and his fate is, in many ways, irrelevant to the resolution of the film.

Review: 'The Hunter' Is An Eerie And Deeply Affecting Eco-Thriller

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • April 3, 2012 12:57 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
In their 2006 book "Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger," authors Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson, then researchers at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, talked about becoming obsessed with a stuffed Tasmanian Tiger that they would walk by every day in the museum. It became "something akin to amorous fervor," and eventually they decided to take a trip to Tasmania to see if the tiger, which officially became extinct in 1936 when the lone survivor died at the Hobart Zoo, still existed, somewhere in the wild. It's the kind of mysterious animal – lithe, beautiful, angular – that inspires this kind of devotion, even decades after its extinction. And it's this kind of nearly mythic eeriness that seeps into "The Hunter," Daniel Nettheim's dark and deeply haunting film based on the novel by Julia Leigh, about a man (Willem Dafoe) obsessed with finding the tiger, no matter the cost.

Review: 'We Have A Pope' An Unlikely Dramedy About Finding Faith, But Losing Yourself

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • April 3, 2012 11:58 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Early word on Nanni Moretti's "We Have A Pope" was that it was more or less in the vein of "The King's Speech." Well, perhaps in broad strokes, but unlike Tom Hooper's wildly overrated Oscar-winner, Moretti finds more depth, complex emotion and goes for a much braver, uneasy ending for his film. "We Have A Pope" is less about a newly elected Pope overcoming his fears to serve the church, but more about the expectations we put on these figures and in its own quiet way, it questions -- without condemning -- the Vatican's staunch rules that keep much of the higher cardinals and officials out of reach from the everyday world.

ND/NF '12 Review: 'Now, Forager' Is Strictly For Hardcore Food Snobs

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • April 3, 2012 8:56 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Two pairs of boots crush the leaves underneath, making their way through the forest. The pair of sufficiently-dressed foragers look behind trees, over hills, combing the landscape for a major score. Underneath a tree, it is found: scores and scores of massive mushrooms, all of a specific, hard-to-find variety. In these, some would see deliciousness, and some would find money. Lucien and Regina, the two leads of “Now, Forager,” see the continuing of their way of life.

ND/NF '12 Review: Mads Brugger Cheats Death In Provocative Doc 'The Ambassador'

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • April 2, 2012 12:05 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Mads Brugger is a man with a death wish. The Danish journalist turned filmmaker will turn a lot of heads with “The Ambassador,” which recently debuted at the New Directors/New Films program in New York City. The film is ostensibly a documentary about the corruption between Central African despots and the foreign consulates that humor them, through the exchange of money, goods, and most importantly, conflict diamonds. Given such a volatile subject, Brugger could have kept his distance, investigating from afar, but he knew that wouldn’t get him the answers he craved. And so he put on an ice cream suit, picked up smoking, and became the mysterious Mister Cortzen.

Review: 'Scenes Of A Crime' Is A Riveting True-Crime Documentary Worthy Of Errol Morris

  • By Christopher Bell
  • |
  • March 31, 2012 6:16 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
We often forget that film can help elicit change -- maybe it's our general apathy or maybe we've been conditioned to turn away at whatever new "issues" doc is at our door, that often speak directly to the choir. But let's not forget "Super Size Me" helped kick the fast food chain's extra large size to the curb, "Bowling For Columbine" got KMart to stop selling bullets, and most unforgettably, master filmmaker Errol Morris' "The Thin Blue Line" set a wrongly convicted man free. Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh's "Scenes Of A Crime" shares much of the latter film's DNA, focusing on a questionable murder confession by an unemployed upstate New Yorker.

Review: 'Turn Me On, Dammit!' A Fun Yet Uneven Look At A Sex-Crazed Female

  • By Christopher Bell
  • |
  • March 30, 2012 5:25 PM
  • |
  • 5 Comments
With all of the stories, movies, and television episodes dedicated to the horny teenage male, it's a bit of an understatement to say that the topic is well-covered. Regrettably, there's still a nasty double-standard in regards to the population of sexual-minded females -- their desires aren't looked at with the same respect that males get in those various forms of media, and that’s if they’re even represented at all. Better late than never, "Turn Me On, Dammit!" attempts to fill that void by not only having its main protagonist seemingly fueled by coitus, but by also targeting society's uneven treatment of sexual matters between boys and girls.

Email Updates

Recent Comments