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The Playlist

Review: David Fincher’s ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ Is An Intense But Dispassionate Thriller

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • December 13, 2011 12:21 AM
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  • 18 Comments
Looking at “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” it’s hard not to think of the dark thriller cum procedural as director David Fincher’s “The Departed." Notwithstanding both films being inspired by/remade from acclaimed foreign predecessors, Fincher and Scorsese alike seem to be saying with them, “You wanted me to do this kind of movie? Well, here it is, motherfuckers.”

Review: 'The Sitter' Is A Rough, But Absurdist Romp & Serves As a Natural End Point For David Gordon Green's Comedy Exploration

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 12, 2011 5:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
While formulaic and lazy in its plotting, employing clichés upon clichés and opportune plot conveniences at every turn, David Gordon Green’s scrappy, loose and rough-around-the-edges mainstream comedy, “The Sitter,” is still by and large, an enjoyable little lark thanks to a strong dollop of WTF? absurdisms to round out its corners. And at a brisk 81 minutes, while largely forgettable, it’s still easy to stay engaged in a picture that appears to act as an homage to ‘80s perilous adventure films such as “Adventure’s In Babysitting” and “Risky Business” therefore using mechanical tropes by design.

Review: 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows' An Engaging, Entertaining Sequel Brimming With Charisma & Top Notch Action

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • December 9, 2011 11:28 AM
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  • 3 Comments
If “Sherlock Holmes” was the first movie to properly capitalize on Robert Downey Jr.’s career resuscitation after “Iron Man” became a mega-success, then “A Game Of Shadows,” its follow up, is the first sequel to understand how to sustain his appeal without allowing him to eat away at the scenery. Taking an “if it ain’t broke…” attitude towards the original’s combination of snooty deduction, seismic action and borderline silly bromance, Guy Ritchie’s stylish over-plotting actually works to a film’s benefit for once, because it keeps Downey’s febrile charisma in check even as the film expands the visceral, intellectual and even political stakes of its Victorian-by-way-of-MMA universe.

Review: Understated & Powerful Documentary 'Knuckle' Is A Knockout

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • December 9, 2011 10:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Given the recent explosion of mixed martial arts in the last several years, it seems like a no-brainer that someone would make a documentary about real-life pugilists who don’t just fight but have a real, deep-rooted beef with one another. But Ian Palmer’s documentary “Knuckle” isn’t a celebration of competition, or even the chronicle of a journey some ambitious hopeful makes en route to victory, or even defeat; rather, it takes a long and in many ways tragic look at two warring Irish clans who have engaged in a rivalry for so long that they keep it going without ever knowing why, and certainly without considering stopping it. A chronicle of two intertwined family histories whose ongoing conflict is as raw and unrefined as the fists of the men who fight, “Knuckle” is an understated but powerful look at a world people know little about, in a way they’ve never seen before.

Review: 'Catch .44' Is Fully Loaded With '90s Crime Movie Clichés

  • By Edward Davis
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  • December 9, 2011 9:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments
"In The Tradition Of The Usual Suspects And Reservoir Dogs" proclaims the back of BluRay box of the copy we received. If only. The spirit may be willing, but the movie from writer and director Aaron Harvey is weak. Seemingly cobbled together out of leftover ideas from every movie that came in the wake of those aforementioned films, with a big debt owed to Quentin Tarantino, "Catch .44" is a bunch of stylistic choices looking for something resembling a movie to hang on to.
More: Reviews, Review

Review: 'London River' A Gentle Current Pain, Anger & Acceptance In The Wake Of Terrorist Attacks

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 7, 2011 3:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments
When Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn) first hears about the suicide bombings that shook London on July 7, 2005, it's from her television set a world away in Guernsey. Among the pastoral setting of her farm, the events that are happening miles away seem even more horrific and unbelievable, but her shock is coupled with a genuine concern. It's not long before she's on the phone to her daughter Jane, who is living in London, looking to be reassured that's she okay. She leaves a message. After not hearing from her, she calls again. And then again, leaving voicemails each time. And that's when worry turns into motherly panic and Elisabeth soon heads to the big metropolis to find her daughter.
More: Review, Reviews

Review: Forget About Your Heart, 'New Year's Eve' Just Wants Your Money

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • December 7, 2011 12:43 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If you've managed to make it through two hours of "New Year's Eve" with the idea that it's about anything more than box office returns and home entertainment bank, Warner Bros., New Line and director Garry Marshall are more than happy to set you straight. In a largely unfunny series of credits bloopers, Jessica Biel's character gives birth to twins, and she couldn't be happier to have "Valentine's Day" pop out of her vagina in both DVD and Blu-ray formats (on sale now!). We're not naive enough to imagine that studio films are purely about artistry (and not cynical enough to think that it's never present), but we wish those behind "New Year's Eve" had at least pretended they were trying to entertain us while they rummage through our pockets for loose change.

Review: 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' Is A Remarkable, Quietly Devastating Spy Movie

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 7, 2011 11:15 AM
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  • 3 Comments
The spy genre, is generally speaking, a euphemism for 'action movie' -- look at the explosions, fistfights and car chases of the Bond films, of the 'Mission: Impossible' series, of the 'Bourne' franchise, none of which have much in the way of actual tradecraft. The business of being a spy is hard, boring work, made up of listening and talking and without a lot of glamor. One of the men who best understands this is novelist John Le Carré, himself a former spy, who for close to half a century has been behind some of the most acclaimed literary examples of the genre. But aside from the much-loved "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold," and the more recent "The Constant Gardener" (the latter not strictly speaking an espionage picture), his works haven't had a huge amount of success on the big screen, lacking the speedboats and fireballs of Ian Fleming or Robert Ludlum.

Review: 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' Provides Worthwhile Thrills In A Disappointingly Unimaginative Package

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • December 7, 2011 7:30 AM
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  • 16 Comments
“Mission: Impossible” is that rarest of franchises, where it seems unnecessary, or even irrelevant, to compare one installment to another. Because each film was shepherded into existence by a different filmmaker, and in all cases by one branded an “auteur,” they all seem to exist independently, demonstrating strengths and weaknesses none of the others have. And “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” falls perfectly in line with its predecessors: helmed by Brad Bird, whose combination of brisk action and humanizing comedy made Pixar’s “The Incredibles” such a winner, the fourth film is its own entity, a bemusing but visceral thriller that ups the series’ stakes while staying true to its core concepts. But bereft of the unifying concept each of the previous films had – or depending on one’s opinion, that they lacked – 'Ghost Protocol' is a fun but mostly empty adventure story that operates with the rote predictability of a middling ‘90s James Bond movie rather than a benchmark-setting actioner or even seasonal “event movie.”

Review: 'I Melt With You' Is An Intensely Familiar Look At Male Midlife Crisis

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 6, 2011 9:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If an alien race were to study our cinema, they’d realize that every man beyond the age of 40 is unhappy and suffering a mid-life crisis. For every happy, well-adjusted middle-aged man in contemporary cinema, there are three more, casually living life out of a suitcase, a bottle, or underneath a sea of unpaid bills and obligations.

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