The Playlist

NYAFF Reviews: 'Milocrorze', 'Love And Loathing And Lulu And Ayano' & 'The Seaside Motel'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 13, 2011 3:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
“Milocrorze: A Love Story”Yoshimasa Ishibashi’s hyperactive ode to the destructive power of romance is all things at once -- focused on three narratives, “Milocrorze” attempts to encapsulate the crushing defeat of male romance as if it was exclusive to one sex. The picture is book-ended with a boy’s (later a man’s) crush on the immaculate Milocrorze, a woman of no discerning traits who appears to have storybook beauty and, for the sake of his fantasies, might as well walk on water. The tone is set for the rest of the film by making her an object of pursuit with no particular personality -- whether you’ll accept the film or not relies on how much you’re willing to accept this. Given that 90% of all Hollywood films are guilty of the same crime, it’s a bitter pill but one that we’ve all swallowed at one point.
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Review: 'Harry Potter & The Death Hallows Pt. 2' Is An Utterly Magical Conclusion to the Franchise

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 13, 2011 2:25 AM
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  • 5 Comments
It's been more than 10 years since we first watched Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, through thick and thin), with his jagged lightning bolt scar and hard knocks childhood (he was orphaned after his parents were brutally murdered by a dark wizard), arrive at Hogwarts School to fulfill his destiny as "the boy who lived." In the years since Chris Columbus' sleepy debut films, the series has had its ups (Alfonso Cuarón's immaculate 'Prisoner of Azkaban') and its downs (Mike Newell's gonzo Bollywood 'Goblet of Fire') before settling in with its designated auteur, David Yates, who has helmed the last four films including this, the final entry, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." Things have gotten decidedly darker since those early adventures, and decidedly more epic, too. And if you're concerned about the series going out with an appropriate bang, you shouldn't be. This swan (or maybe it's Hippogriff?) song delivers emotionally, dramatically, and cinematically: the results are positively magical.

Review: 'Daylight' An Uneven But Compelling Psychological Drama

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • July 12, 2011 2:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Few people will disparage an expectant mother. People are people, good and bad, but there's something majestic, alluring, and graceful about a pregnant female. It's some inexplicable aura that surrounds them, a soft soothing light that alters the mood of anyone they come in contact with. A meaningful moment with one is akin to a divine experience. It's this logic that permeates David Barker's "Daylight."

Review: 'Winnie the Pooh' Is A Cuddly, Gorgeously Animated Treat

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 12, 2011 2:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments
There have been a lot of animated movies released this year, but virtually none of them has been any good. The technology, while increasingly sophisticated and skilled at rendering lifelike Easter bunnies and parrots and pandas and oddly anthropomorphic automobiles, seems to be brought to the screen at the cost of a similar sophistication in storytelling. Which is why "Winnie the Pooh," Disney's new take on the beloved A.A. Milne character, rendered, lovingly, in comparatively low-tech traditional animation, comes as such a surprise. It might be the greatest animated feature of the year so far (besides "Rango") – and you don't even have to wear dorky 3D glasses.

Review: 'Tabloid' Is Documentarian Errol Morris At His Wildly Absurdist Best

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 11, 2011 7:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Lately, documentarian Errol Morris has focused his films on terribly serious subject matter. 2003's "Fog of War" centered on Robert S. McNamara, one of the chief architects of the bloody, morally nebulous Vietnam War, and 2008's underappreciated "Standard Operating Procedure" told the story of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal through the photos themselves. The films were great, but they lacked the playfulness and oddball charm of earlier Morris films like his debut "Gates of Heaven" (about a pet cemetery) and 1997's "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control," about a bunch of weirdos with amazing professions (lion tamer, topiary artist, robotics expert, and a man devoted to blind, mutant-looking mole rats). So it's something of a relief that Morris has largely left the dark stuff behind for his latest film, "Tabloid," a gripping, thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud love story that turns out to be one of the documentarian's very best films.
More: Review, Tabloid

Review: ‘The Tree’ Is A Harrowing, Sometimes Drab, Look At Life & Loss

  • By Matthew Newlin
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  • July 11, 2011 2:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Films about the loss of a loved one – a parent, a child, a partner, a friend – have been a staple of cinema almost since its inception. Our inability to forget or move on with our lives is one of the characteristics that makes us human and filmmakers are always looking for new ways to examine how we cope (or fail to cope) with death. “The Tree” is not exactly an inspired take on the idea, but does have certain elements that make it a very touching cinematic experience. As the old adage goes, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that counts. This is absolutely true for “The Tree.”
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Review: 'Rapt' Succumbs To Derivative Plotlines & Insubstantial Moments

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • July 9, 2011 2:18 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Where do we start with Stanislas Graff? Played with quiet confidence by Yvan Attal, the man is the chairman of a seriously lucrative business, well-respected by his peers. A loving family surround him, fit with two admiring teenage daughters and a wife that doesn't think sleeping in a separate room is a red flag of any sort. In secret, Graff is a heavy gambler and we're treated to a brief snippet of the showboat at a grimy poker game. And, just like any wealthy male in a film like this, he's got a separate flat where he sees whatever mistress he's currently shagging. Director Lucas Belvaux establishes the whole of this guy efficiently, moving along quickly and displaying the character's ability to keep everything separate while also making it feel very routine -- he's a busy man, but he's a comfortable one.

Review: A Fat Man, Animals That Sound Like Sitcom Characters & The Terrible 'Zookeeper'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 7, 2011 5:17 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Early on in “Zookeeper,” Sony’s latest commercially craven piece of garbage from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company, an animal sees two bears fighting. Her response is, “They look like two bean bag chairs!” Ignoring the idea that this character, a giraffe, has probably never even seen a bean bag chair, this is a brilliant line -- mostly because it reveals the true instincts of the six (six!) writers tasked with bringing this story-less hook to the screen.

Review: 'Ironclad' Is Made Of Flimsy Fabric

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 7, 2011 3:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There have been a wealth of medieval swordplay pictures in the last couple of years. Some have adhered to a jumpcut-heavy editing method to allow these pictures a contemporary feel. Others have taken advantage of more liberal times allowing these films the influx of the blood and guts appropriate to the era. But it’s a good bet that none of these efforts from recent years has nearly the same amount of scenery-chewing as “Ironclad.”

Review: John Carpenter Retires, Forgets That He Had To Direct 'The Ward'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 7, 2011 2:02 AM
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  • 6 Comments
An open field. A girl. A fire. A mystery. Ignoring a brief and ultimately irrelevant prologue, the beginning of “The Ward” immediately pulls us into the story of a classic horror convention, the Survivor Girl. Except, tantalizingly, we don’t know what she’s survived and, given a few orchestral cues, we may even question whether she has survived or not.

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