The Playlist

Review: 'Arthur' A Tedious, Bland Comedy That Earns Intermittent Laughs Almost By Accident

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • April 8, 2011 2:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment
“Why?” will echo through your head if you’re a fan of the 1981 “Arthur” starring Dudley Moore as you watch this useless remake. The original won a shiny pair of Oscars and is considered a classic, but apparently Warner Bros. thought it needed to be remade for contemporary audiences. But the larger philosophical question soon fades in favor of a strictly personal one: “Why me?” Though it has fleeting funny moments, this Russell Brand vehicle is a sputtering Pinto that surprises more when it runs well than when it lurches to a stop.

Review: 'Hanna' A Study In Merciless Violence, Strong Performances And Block Rockin' Beats

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 6, 2011 11:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In "Hanna," Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan graduates to the next stage of her career, the one that all "respected actors" reach -- the action stage, where her piercing looks and astute natural intelligence are replaced by kicks, punches and improbable stunts. The anomaly, of course, is that Ms. Ronan has become a remarkably accomplished, borderline preternatural performer at a young age, and so the action phase of her career -- admittedly, a brief tour as opposed to the extended sojourn other actresses might enjoy -- has arrived fairly early. Such is the natural gimmick at the heart of "Hanna," one that audiences should find familiar by now: the little girl with wolf's teeth and bear's claws.

Review: Though Keanu Reeves' Heart Is In The Right Place, 'Henry's Crime' Is A Forgettable Offense

  • By The Playlist
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  • April 6, 2011 11:02 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The following review is reprint that originally ran during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
More: Review

Review: 'Ceremony' Is Charming & Well-Made, Despite Wes Anderson Derivativeness

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 6, 2011 10:42 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Employing similar symmetrical framing and tracking shots, classic rock soundtrack flourishes and quirky, fanciful characters, Max Winkler's directorial debut, "Ceremony" feels heavily indebted to the early works of Wes Anderson. Arguably a derivative effort in that sense, the film is still not without its delightful little charms, and despite the obvious familiarities, is still entertaining and engaging.

Review: 'Your Highness' Is Fantasy That's Gloriously Absurd, Hilarious & Balls-Out Irreverent

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 5, 2011 5:41 AM
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  • 12 Comments
The potential failure of something calling itself "Your Highness" and being marketed, in the most blatant of terms, as a medieval stoner movie, is fairly, er, high. These are untapped waters, and a fairly ballsy decision for Universal, after several big-budgeted near-bombs, to make a big budget, very-R-rated comedy that riffs on the esoteric spate of sword-and-sorcery movies from the 1980s (like Playlist favorite "Krull"). In short: it could have been truly, eye-rollingly awful.

Review: 'His Way' An All Too Brief, Surface Look At The Life Of Legendary Producer Jerry Weintraub

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 4, 2011 3:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments
They don't make 'em like Jerry Weintraub anymore. Born in Brooklyn, he quickly climbed the ladder, earning early success in the music business, working with a staggering array of talent including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton, John Denver and more. Once he conquered the music game, Weintraub moved over to the movie business making a name for himself with Robert Altman's "Nashville" and going on to put his mark on films like "Diner," the "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy and "The Karate Kid." It's been a hell of a ride for the producer who, now in his '70s, shows no sign of slowing down and said recently, "the word ‘retirement’ it’s not in my vocabulary—they’re gonna take me out with my boots on.”

Review: 'Wrecked' Is A Car Crash You'll Want To Look Away From

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • April 1, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
“Wrecked” does a rare thing. While most movies founder in their third act, this indie survival film actually gets more interesting and watchable in its final 30 minutes. But it’s getting to that final third that’s the real ordeal here. You’ll have to endure the first half hour, with star Adrien Brody crying and occasionally panicking as he wakes up, stuck in a car at the bottom of a cliff with no memory of who he is. It’s 30 minutes of his unnamed character struggling to free his crushed leg from an even more crushed car, wondering who the corpse in the backseat is and worrying who he might be.

Review: 'Hop' Is Like Opening An Easter Egg And Finding Nothing Inside

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 1, 2011 2:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment
"Hop," the new animation/live action hybrid from the folks that brought us this past summer's surprise smash "Despicable Me," comes with a premise so ingeniously prepackaged that you'll wonder why nobody had come up with it before. A canny hodgepodge of "The Santa Clause," "Elf," and a handful of other holiday classics (or would-be classics), it hopes to do for Easter what these films did for Christmas, complete with zippy visual effects and a chewy moral center about the nature of family and togetherness.

Review: 'Cat Run' A Fizzy Soda Of Old School Action

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 1, 2011 2:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment
John Stockwell's movies as a director pop and fizzle like the sensation of opening a soda can. He's focused primarily, almost cynically, on the youth market, with films like "Blue Crush" and "Turistas" exploring the exoticism of sensual, almost exclusively American youthful exuberance. Unfortunately, the budgets and grosses have shrunk, and Stockwell finds himself on the periphery of a filmmaking culture, as someone who makes punchy cinematic candy that no one wants to consume.

Review: David Schwimmer's 'Trust' A Thoughtful Look At A Tricky Subject

  • By Danielle Johnsen
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  • April 1, 2011 1:47 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In 2011, we are so used to relationships blossoming through the internet and various social channels that it takes awhile into "Trust" to foresee the danger lurking. Directed by David Schwimmer, the triggering thriller manages to avoid the easy pitfalls of what could resemble an afterschool special and brings depth to the uneasy subject matter of sexual predators, internet safety and parental protection.

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