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The Playlist

Review: 'The Tourist' Is Not Worth Getting Out Your Passport For

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 9, 2010 3:35 AM
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  • 4 Comments
From the very first shot of the film, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck makes it evident that "The Tourist" will attempt to be flashy, frothy entertainment. An impeccably dressed police captain climbs into the back of a van with three more impeccably dressed officers, bringing them a tray of espresso, in some pretty fabulous looking takeout cups (no grimy We Are Happy To Serve You style cups for these guys). It's a minor detail, but the scene is indicative of the film as a whole. More often choosing fabulous locations, set design and attire over realism, charm or originality, "The Tourist" mostly feels like walking through a very expensive store where you can't buy or touch anything and that distance keeps the film from ever truly taking off.

Review: 'Tron: Legacy' Is A Sonic & Visual Delight, But Lacks Soul, Narratively Empty

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 8, 2010 7:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The first hour of "Tron: Legacy," Disney's immensely budgeted (some reports have it soaring past the $300 million mark with marketing costs) reboot/sequel of a marginally popular 1982 live-inside-the-videogame cult oddity, is as breathless and bold as any recent franchise flick. It begins in 1989, with Jeff Bridges, playing computer magnate/visionary Kevin Flynn, mysteriously vanishing -- leaving behind a vast company and young son. We flash forward 20 years or so, and the abandoned son Sam (played by Garrett Hedlund) is now the company's largest shareholder but also a restless, wayward twentysomething who pulls an annual prank on the board (this year it's releasing their new Windows-like operating system onto the web). After receiving a mysterious text from his father's long dormant office, COO Alan Bradley (played by Bruce Boxleitner, also from the original) sends Sam to the now shuttered Flynn's Arcade. Sam flips on some lights and starts fiddling with a computer and zzzzzappppp! he's inside the same computerized world that his father inhabited in the first film.

Review: 'You Won't Miss Me' Lacks Insight & Interest

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • December 7, 2010 11:08 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Despite over-saturation, a refusal/inability to use the film medium to its full potential, and the generally low-aiming nature of the mumbly micro-indie, it seems the genre is here to stay.

Review: 'The Fighter' Is A Scrappy Little Knockout

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 7, 2010 5:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Picture Is Also A Surprisingly Funny, Touching Story About The Foibles Of Family; Bale Seems Oscar-Nom BoundThere are onscreen dramas that claim to be about family, but they never really involve the protagonist having to make difficult decisions. Often the family is too saintly, or too important, to ignore. Other times, the best route for the protagonist to follow is to form a surrogate family, as blood relatives appear untrustworthy or devious. Rarely does a film come along that respects its audience enough to present the clear conflicts and difficulties of being around the ones who love you. Whether it be their all-encompassing love, their lack of education, or your own stubborness, the bonds that define what a family means can become frayed. When you love someone, it takes more than a mirror to show you that you have the capacity to simultaneously be terrible.

Review: 'Voyage Of The Dawn Treader' Is A Cruise Ship To Inanity

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 6, 2010 10:48 AM
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  • 18 Comments
In “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader,” we return to the Pevensie siblings and their adventures across the mystic lands. However, because the last film, “Prince Caspian,” didn’t exactly set the world on fire, we get everything at a discount: hence, instead of four Pevensies, we get two. Sea serpents don’t just pay for themselves. What a world that would be.

Review: 'And Everything Is Going Fine' Is A Deeply Fascinating & Satisfying Closing Chapter

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • December 6, 2010 3:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Spitting out detailed and personal monologues in a sometimes-comfortable-sometimes-manic fashion, Spalding Gray was one of the most engaging talkers of our time. His minimalist style was deeply intimate, eschewing any kind of tool or prop in favor instead of spilling his guts out on stage. He quickly established such a connection with the audience (even going as far as interviewing audience members on stage) during his performances that calling it a "relationship" doesn't feel right -- "friendship" is a better word. Sadly, Gray took his own life in 2004 due to depression, and his absence is felt: there's not another performer like him out there, and it's likely that there never will be. The oeuvre he's left behind is a legacy; there are many writings but the printed word does no justice to his engrossing poise and voice. The best work was documented in four films "Swimming to Cambodia" (Jonathan Demme), "Terrors of Pleasure" (Thomas Schlamme), "Monster in a Box" (Nick Broomfield), and "Gray's Anatomy" (Steven Soderbergh), which capture his persona perfectly. Seeking to have a proper farewell, Gray's widow Kathleen Russo handed Soderbergh over 100 hours of video and he set out to cut an autobiographical tale told through many different Gray monologues and interviews. Behold the fruits of his labor, the 90-minute "And Everything Is Going Fine," an often hilarious and sometimes saddening final word from the late, great entertainer.

Review: 'Rare Exports' Is Not Quite As Bad As ' The Nutcracker 3D' (But Still Pretty Bad)

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • December 2, 2010 10:45 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Dear Santa,

Review: 'Black Swan' Is The Grandest Ballet Of Darren Aronofsky's Career

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 2, 2010 2:47 AM
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  • 1 Comment
This is a repost of a review that ran earlier this year during TIFF 2010. The film is in limited release starting this week.

Review: 'I Love You Phillip Morris' Starts Sweet But Turns Sour

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 1, 2010 3:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
After being delayed for nearly a year thanks to distributor woes and legal wrangling, the directorial debut of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (the writers behind "Bad Santa" and directors of the upcoming "Crazy Stupid Love") finally arrives on North American shores. And though the film is not as outrageous as it premise teases, "I Love You Phillip Morris" is mostly a pleasantly diverting comedy that goes very far south in its go-for-broke final act.

Review: 'All Good Things' Is A Lot Of Very Tedious Things In A Film Better Served As A Documentary

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 29, 2010 8:32 AM
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  • 4 Comments
It's been a long road for Andrew Jarecki's non-documentary feature debut "All Good Things" to finally get a release. Jarecki bought back the U.S. distribution rights to the film from The Weinstein Company earlier this year after the completed film wound up collecting dust on the studio shelf for over two years. And while The Weinstein Company certainly have a history of not doing right be certain films, this is certainly a case where their instincts to hold the film back were right on the money.

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