The Playlist

Review: IMAX Nature Documentary 'Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 4, 2014 11:18 AM
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Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
The nature documentary, invented by Walt Disney himself and maintained, in the years since, by various filmmakers, philanthropists, and causes, has seen something of a resurgence in recent years, mostly thanks to the annual DisneyNature documentary that focuses on some exotic (but still cuddly) aspect of the animal kingdom. (This year's entry, being released later this month, is "Bears"). But that doesn't mean that Disney, founder of the genre and pioneer since, has cornered the market on the nature documentary. In the fallow years between its invention and the recent initiative, the best nature documentaries were typically seen in large-format IMAX theaters. Together with Warner Bros, IMAX released documentarian's David Douglas' genuinely gripping monkey tale "Born to Be Wild" in 2011, and that same team has reassembled for this week's enthralling "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar."

Review: Season 1 Of 'Doll & Em' A Low Key, Charming Look At Friendship And Celebrity

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 4, 2014 10:04 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Doll & Em
The word "famous" probably isn't one that you would use to describe Emily Mortimer. Respected and talented, her impressive range of work includes movies with folks like Martin Scorsese, David Mamet, Woody Allen, Kenneth Branagh, Nicole Holofcener and more, and though you would probably recognize her on the street, her name might not ring many bells with the average filmgoer. Which is what makes the premise of "Doll & Em" all the more clever, with Mortimer playing a fictionalized version of herself, that uses the backdrop of Hollywood to tell a story not about the business necessarily, but about how the dynamics of friendship can be strained when one of them is living out her dreams and the other....well, isn't.

Review: ‘In The Blood’ Starring Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet & Danny Trejo

  • By Chase Whale
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  • April 4, 2014 8:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
in The Blood, Gina Carano
With the endless barrage of action films fighting for our attention these days, it's rare to find one anchored by a woman. It's even more rare to find a lead who continually ignores consequences in her search for vengeance, but real life Mixed Martial Arts champion Gina Carano is just that kind of leading lady. Whether it's duking it out with underworld goons or raining down a world of pain on those who threaten her family -- this is one violent femme on a mission.

Review: Apocalyptic 'Goodbye World' Starring Adrian Grenier, Kerry Bishé, Mark Webber & Gaby Hoffmann

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 3, 2014 6:27 PM
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Blame it on the Mayans, maybe, but 2012 and 2013 have seen a host of films with apocalypse on the brain, from big budget action flicks to meta-comedies like “This Is The End,” to smaller, more realistic dramedies like “It’s A Disaster." Director Denis Henry Hennelly’s “Goodbye World” falls more in line with the latter, situating a group of seven college friends in a Northern California cabin in the wake of a cyber attack. While it has its funny moments, it’s definitely not a comedy, but it seeks to acknowledge the weird ways in which people react to times of crisis, especially amongst this particular group, with their complicated personal histories. Will they implode from their own internal strife or outside threats?

New Directors/New Films Review: Radical, Thrilling 'The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 3, 2014 5:15 PM
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The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears
Some movies are watched. “The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears” is a movie you live inside. This new film from directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani touches you repeatedly, inappropriately, from the front and, delightfully, from the rear. To synopsize the film is folly, though it will be fun to see viewers try. This is the magic that Cattet and Forzani have weaved from their debut effort “Amer," a hypnotic trip down the giallo rabbit hole. Very few filmmakers today are working with a radical new vocabulary, but Cattet and Forzani are using genre of the past to toss us, shouting, into the future.

Review: Errol Morris' Donald Rumsfeld Doc 'The Unknown Known' Both Insightful & Unsatisfying

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 2, 2014 5:14 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Unknown Known, Errol Morris
As we inch towards another potential war in the Middle East, the last couple are still being pored over by filmmakers. We’re still likely some time away from the definitive takes on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we have seen a few solid films telling those stories in the last decade or so, albeit tending to focus on the men on the ground, rather than the architects of the conflict. The men who planned and executed the wars might have been out of office for some time, but they’re not showing any particular willingness to talk things over. Well, except one. Sort of.

Review: Jonathan Glazer's Seductive Girl-Who-Fell-To-Earth Pic 'Under The Skin' Starring Scarlett Johansson

  • By Chris Willman
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  • April 1, 2014 6:19 PM
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Under The Skin
If you’re a random male pedestrian and a gal who looks like Scarlett Johansson ever pulls up and offers to take you to her place for a quickie, the logical thing to do would be run like hell, since this could only be either a sting or a sign of the apocalypse, no matter how good looking a fellow you are. But lust trumps logic as Johansson lures a bevy of bros to their doom in “Under the Skin."

New Directors/New Films Review: Quiet, Introspective And Surprising 'Buzzard'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 31, 2014 6:03 PM
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Buzzard
It's hard to look away from the face of Joshua Burge: his bug eyes recall Peter Lorre in their constant vigilant paranoia. But his angular femininity that comes from his soft mouth and sleek cheekbones suggest an approachability that contrasts with the sharpness of his more intimidating features. He would have played villains and scoundrels in the silent era, ones that had a vulnerable secret. Joel Potrykus' “Buzzard” reveals that not much has changed since then.

Review: ‘McCanick’ Starring David Morse & Cory Monteith

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • March 31, 2014 5:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments
McCanick
Certain ingredients are essential to gritty cop dramas. Especially for the ones that blur the lines between protagonist and antagonist by having an anti-hero be the central character. In recent films and TV shows, the anti-hero has been on the steady rise, from Walter White in “Breaking Bad” to Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” so now seems the right time for a film like Josh C. Waller's “McCanick.” But when placing this film into its particular genre—unavoidable thanks to the film's overuse of every single ingredient—the mind immediately recalls narcotic detective dramas like “Training Day” and “Narc.” Unfortunately for Waller and David Morse, who plays the titular detective and has clearly invested enough in the film to get an executive producer cred, comparisons to any film of its kind are not too friendly.

Review: 'Go Down Death' Is A Unique, Strange & Unforgettable Half-Remembered Dream

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 28, 2014 4:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Jonathan Mallory Sinus is credited as the “folklorist” responsible for the vignettes that follow at the beginning of “Go Down Death." What follows is a beautiful woman applying makeup and a man on guitar. Some of the world’s greatest filmmakers would argue that these are the only elements one needs to make a great film. The picture continues through its opening credits, introducing us to a doctor that over-shares with a kind-eyed boy, and a double-amputee emphasizing liberation from his own legs as if his body were originally a vessel for a lie. Director Aaron Schimberg’s credit appears over the screams of a woman trapped inside a car, fighting for her life. This is a filmmaker with a very specific sensibility with regard to mortality.

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