The Playlist

Tribeca Reviews: 'Detective Dee', 'Underwater Love' & 'Let The Bullets Fly'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 3, 2011 3:43 AM
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"Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame"With the rise of China's first female ruler there came dissent. Also, there came spontaneous combustion, according to Tsui Hark's colorful, madcap mystery, where a poison has entered the bloodstream of several top advisers. No one knows they've been poisoned, of course, until they are greeted by sunlight, and the chemical compound erupts, flames emerging from their insides. This pseudo-science nightmare means only one thing: ruler Wu Zetian must unleash China's top detective (Andy Lau) who is in prison, and has fairly outspoken against her appointment. Oops.
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Tribeca Review: 'Roadie' And The Sad Aftermath of A Failed Life On The Road

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 3, 2011 3:03 AM
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  • 2 Comments
For some, life is a series of indignities. One second too slow, one step too far, and our dreams go unfulfilled. In every bar in the country, there is someone drinking away his regrets, trying to make peace with the records they didn’t break and the hearts they didn’t soothe. Michael Cuesta’s “Roadie” is a film about one of those men.

Tribeca Reviews: Rwanda's First Film 'Grey Matter,' France's 'My Piece Of The Pie,' 'Cairo Exit'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • May 2, 2011 2:19 AM
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"My Piece of the Pie"When "The Company Men" arrived, people found it difficult to have sympathy for the three main characters -- each was an upper-class employee being fucked over by an even richer fat cat. Maybe it would've done some good to have one of the prominent characters be working class (Kevin Costner fills that void, though he's a side character that serves only to tease Ben Affleck and, in the end, teach him a lesson), as a character losing his BMW and country club privileges is only going to induce eye-rolls. French film "My Piece of the Pie" at first splits its time between power broker Steve (Gilles Lellouche, "Tell No One") and the recently laid-off factory worker France (Karin Viard, "Potiche"), portraying the former as a cocky playboy and the latter as a worn-out mother on the verge of suicide.

Tribeca Review: 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' Is A Good New-Fashioned Slob Comedy

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 1, 2011 6:20 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The slob comedy, an invention of the American counterculture of the sixties and seventies that tore down movies’ perception of onscreen propriety, has miraculously survived in various forms since Bill Murray and his “Saturday Night Live” cronies started smirking on the big screen. Every time someone thinks that the influence of “National Lampoon’s Animal House” can no longer be felt, a film like “The Hangover” emerges, tapping into the zeitgeist and pulling in record-breaking numbers, further establishing the modern onscreen male as proprietor of snark, juvenile tomfoolery, and general bad behavior.

IFFBoston Review: 'Dragonslayer' A Fantastic Portrayal Of Modern Skateboarding Man

  • By Catherine Scott
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  • May 1, 2011 4:24 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Though many haven’t seen Tristan Patterson’s documentary “Dragonslayer” yet, there’s a high probability that it will be one of the most talked about documentaries of the year, much like last year’s “Catfish” or “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” The film follows West Coast skateboarder Josh “Skreech” Sandoval in his daily life as he searches for empty swimming pools, smokes a lot of weed and comes to terms with life after fatherhood.

IFFBoston 2011 Review: 'On the Ice' Falls Through the Cracks

  • By Catherine Scott
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  • April 30, 2011 2:14 AM
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It’s not often that we see an entire film taking place in the barren wilderness that is Alaska. When there is an Alaska-based movie, it’s usually a horror film manipulating the isolation and constant darkness factors for the ultimate scare. In Andrew Okpeaha Maclean’s “On the Ice,” Alaska is as stark as we’ve ever known it, but it’s the tight-knit community of people that cause the most trouble here.

Tribeca Reviews: Best Documentary Winner 'Bombay Beach' & Icelandic Comedy Doc 'Gnarr"

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 29, 2011 4:01 AM
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  • 3 Comments
"Bombay Beach"Well deserved recipient of the Best Documentary award at Tribeca this year, "Bombay Beach" is an incredibly moving portrait of failed economic development and the humanity that continues to persevere even though forgotten in one of the poorest communities in southern California located near the Salton Sea. Three subjects are chosen to represent the community -- the elderly Red, a man who spouts prophetic musings and lives on cigarettes and booze; Cee Jay, a high-school football star dealing with the gang-related death of his cousin and hoping to score a scholarship to make a decent life for himself; and Benny, a young and imaginative boy suffering from bipolar disorder. Each is followed in their day-to-day routines, their interactions with their families, neighbors, and friends closely examined in a perfectly crafted, cinema-verite style.
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Review: 'The Robber' Is A Relentless, Character-Based Thriller

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 29, 2011 2:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The following is a reprint of our review that ran during the 2010 New York Film Festival.
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Review: Takashi Miike's Samurai Picture '13 Assassins' Is His Most Entertaining & Accessible

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • April 29, 2011 1:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The following is a reprint of our review that ran during the 2010 Vancouver Film Festival
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Review: 'Sympathy for Delicious' Is A Drab, Outdated Drama

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 28, 2011 7:52 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The jittery, just-before-the-film-runs-out-of-the-camera opening title sequence of "Sympathy for Delicious," seems to intentionally (or maybe it's unintentionally) call back the music videos that defined the early '90s grunge rock scene. This makes sense, in a way, because so many of the characters in the film seem to have been drawn out of that particular flannel-shirted milieu. But that's not the thing that makes the sequence so irritating. There's something both arty and offhand about the sequence, in a way that draws attention to itself – it's handmade quality that screams "Hey, look at me!" And it's evocative of the problems with "Sympathy for Delicious" as a whole. The directorial debut of eerily handsome character actor (and recent Oscar nominee) Mark Ruffalo, "Delicious" is the kind of fitfully preening indie drama that tries for profundity and visual grace but comes across as an ugly, cloying annoyance that has less to say (and much less to look at) that your typical Hollywood endeavor. It's one of those low budget movies that took a decade to finish and all you can wonder is - Why did anyone try so hard for so little?

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