The Playlist

Review: The Drug Kingpin As Academic In 'Mr. Nice'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 3, 2011 3:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Movies, and society as a whole, have struggled with how to portray drug dealers. The default showcase is the bloodthirsty villain, the person who is so one-dimensional as to think he knows what he’s doing is wrong, but does so anyway. But the cinema isn’t afraid to glamorize the profession either, showcasing the supplier as paradigm-busting rock star -- the best cars, the best planes, the best fashion, with a sex partner on each arm. Few opportunities have been taken to redefine the drug dealer as someone with a job, someone who isn’t desperately obsessed with his rise and fall, or the media circus that may relate to his surroundings. Then again, the argument could be that there haven’t been any on-screen kingpins quite like Howard Marks, the renaissance man at the heart of “Mr. Nice.”

Review: 'Turkey Bowl' Successfully Portrays A Fractured Group Of Friends...And Football!

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • June 3, 2011 2:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments
As we grow older, a number of unavoidable sad truths smack us square in the face. Many of them are probably things we swore would never happen to us -- and hey, wouldn't you know it, they did. One of these is the deterioration of a group of friends either due to distance, change in interests, or lack of convenience. In terms of mortality and the fragility of life they're not so dire, but there's still something very defeating about losing touch with people that, at one point, we had very substantial bonds with. Even the occasional get-togethers have a lingering "It's not what it used to be" sentiment for somebody, even if it's better to not hold the past up on a pedestal and just enjoy the moment. None of it is easy to shake and its something you can't understand until it's experienced. This heavy, draining thought pervades the film "Turkey Bowl," a cheapie first feature by Kyle Smith that rings with authentic emotion and tense discomfort.

Review: 'Rejoice And Shout' Attempts To Cover A Century Of Gospel In 2 Hours

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • June 2, 2011 8:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It always seemed like music was the only art where the subject didn't matter. If there's a good beat, a catchy hook, some sort of inventiveness, and/or intensified drive, most don't care what the hell the singer is spewing, even if it's about their specific belief system. Throw a bunch of hard-ass atheists on the dance floor and throw on "Jesus Walks"; see how many stomp their feet and protest (actually, don't, keep reading). There's numerous other examples (how many trendy God-hating teens like Christian-Metalcore band Underoath? Quick answer, too many), but for other mediums, it's not the case. Religious imagery feels too pushy, and while books like the Koran and Old Testament are densely written, good luck finding someone interested in reading it just 'cause.

Review: 'Beautiful Boy' Presents Tragedy As An Acting Exercise

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 2, 2011 8:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If you were, or still are, a post-millennial creative-type, there’s a chance you channeled the emotions and experiences of events like the Columbine massacre or 9/11 into some form of art. Very few of these ended up being films, books, or songs where audiences found meaning. Several of these people were wise enough to file that screenplay back in the cabinet, never to speak of our attempts at fake grief ever again.

Review: 'Submarine’ Is A Smart & Sharp Coming-Of-Age Comedy & A Promising Debut

  • By Cory Everett
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  • June 2, 2011 7:34 AM
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  • 1 Comment
One of the best films at this year's Sundance Film Festival was one that actually had its debut at last year’s TIFF. Richard Ayoade’s “Submarine” is a remarkably assured debut filled with dry humor, inventive visual wit and great performances. Adapted by Ayoade from a 2008 coming-of-age novel by Joe Dunthorne, the film follows 15 year old Oliver Tate (a perfectly cast Craig Roberts), a somewhat delusional teenager who believes himself to be a literary genius, (he reads Nietzsche and searches the dictionary for new words), but in actuality is a social outcast who gets bullied at school and doesn’t know how to talk to girls. Oliver develops a crush on classmate Jordana (a wickedly good Yasmin Paige), an emotionally guarded pyromaniac, who initially agrees to go out with him only to make her ex-boyfriend jealous.

Review: Jean-Luc Godard's 'Film Socialisme' Is A Pointless Exercise In...We Don't Even Know What

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 2, 2011 1:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments
The following is a reprint of our review from the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
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Review: 'Super 8' Is A Summer Blockbuster Just Like You Always Remembered

  • By Leah Zak
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  • June 1, 2011 7:01 AM
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  • 8 Comments
The first teaser for “Super 8” debuted in front of “Iron Man 2” way back in early May of 2010, featuring a single sequence of a violent train collision and a mystery car containing something ominous, large, strong and very scary. The helmer behind such box office hits as the “Star Trek” reboot as well as some of the more intriguing fare to show up on television in the last few years, throw the name J.J. Abrams onto a project and speculation – and excitement – begins to run rampant. Was it a monster movie? A sequel to “Cloverfield”? Some even broke down the ending shot of this first teaser, frame by frame, in hopes of some clue as to what was to come. Now, just over a year later, we’re closing in on the film’s debut, and while newer trailers indicate that early speculation of a moody, more fierce film might have been a little off base, Abrams still delivers an edge-of-your-seat thriller with heart and humor that we predict will have audiences buzzing.

Review: Despite All Its Little Foibles, 'X-Men: First Class' Is Near First Rate

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 1, 2011 3:30 AM
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  • 12 Comments
While a titled cross has been key in "X-Men: First Class" iconography (as well as a huge part of its incessant and not-entirely-original marketing campaign), suggesting that "X" indeed does mark the spot, the symbol most associated with the highly anticipated sequel/prequel/reboot/whatever-the-fuck-it-is is a question mark. Things have been leaning to and fro in the buildup to the movie's release, with pros and cons both flying wildly. Its unequaled cast (including a mix of veterans and up-and-comers including Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and more) was balanced out by reports of an insanely hectic and rushed shooting schedule (ten months to get through production and post-production) and the unvarnished interviews with director Matthew Vaughn, who claimed to have worked with five different cinematographers and was largely unaware of who the crew was on any particular day.

Review: 'Good Neighbours' A Lackluster Thriller & A Whodunit Without A Mystery

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 31, 2011 5:31 AM
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  • 5 Comments
What happens when you're faced with the knowledge that you're neighbor is a serial killer? That's the question asked in "Good Neighbours" (it's a Canadian film, hence the spelling), the second collaboration between director Jacob Tierney and actor Jay Baruchel (they teamed on last year's tepid "The Trotsky"), a whodunit without a mystery and a thriller missing the thrills.
More: Review

Stage Review: Terry Gilliam's Opera 'The Damnation of Faust' Is A Return To Form & Then Some

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 30, 2011 1:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
We've made no bones about our disappointment in Terry Gilliam's recent work. We absolutely have sympathy for the behind-the-scenes troubles that the helmer's suffered in recent years, with a string of bad luck almost unmatched among filmmakers, but unfortunately the work that has made it to the screens, from the Diet Gilliam of "The Brothers Grimm" to the gaudy, half-baked greatest hits set that was "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," has shown a director struggling to find his form.

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