The Playlist

Tribeca Review: Amy Berg’s ‘Every Secret Thing’ Starring Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning & Diane Lane

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 22, 2014 5:38 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Pitched somewhere between a David Fincher crime procedural, a Denis Lehane suspense novel and a “Mommie Dearest” melodrama, documentarian Amy Berg’s move into the feature-length world of dramatic narrative is by nature of the material, an uneven one. It’s not for want of trying, however. Making her narrative debut here, Berg directs the hell out of every crime segment in the film, and there’s a strong level of craft in sequences that would make Fincher and “Se7en” DP Darius Khondji proud. And Nicole Holofcener’s adaptation of the book doesn’t have any real egregious material, at least not in its dialogue.

Video Interview: Mary Elizabeth Winstead Juggles It All In Tribeca Drama 'Alex Of Venice'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • April 22, 2014 1:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Alex of Venice, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
When actresses and audiences alike lament the lack of interesting roles for—and movies about—women as central characters, “Alex of Venice” should be held up as a shining example of what could be. The independent feature, which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Smashed,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) as the title character, whose tenuous grasp on her multitasking life is rocked when her husband (Chris Messina, who also directed) announces he is leaving.

Tribeca Review: Incendiary Political Documentary '1971'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2014 11:25 AM
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  • 0 Comments
1971
On March 8th, 1971, the Citizens Committee To Investigate The FBI convened to break into FBI offices in Media, Pennsylvania. The result, as the new documentary “1971” dares to argue, is a significant, but temporary shift in an ongoing struggle between the general public and the government, one that has waged since war overseas has dared society to question their very own neighbors. The film doesn't bother to hold your hand: if you're an American willing to place blind faith in your elected officials and anyone with a badge, you're not going to cotton to what this film has to show you.

Tribeca Review: Mental Illness Drama 'Gabriel' Starring Rory Culkin

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 22, 2014 10:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Gabriel, Rory Culkin
When "Gabriel," the debut feature from writer/director Lou Howe, begins, it seems like any other romantic drama about two young people who are very in love. Our title character (Rory Culkin) takes a bus out to his girlfriend's dorm. He bangs on her door, a wadded up piece of a letter balled in his fist. When a different girl answers, she informs him that the girl he is looking for doesn't live there, especially when he tells her that the address on the envelope is several years old. "This is a freshman dorm," the girl says. And that's when it becomes very clear that this movie is not your typical romantic drama; it's far more unhinged than that.

Tribeca Review: 'Loitering With Intent' Starring Marisa Tomei And Sam Rockwell

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 21, 2014 6:38 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Loitering With Intent
Writing a movie might be a dramatic process for those in the middle of it, but it's not a terribly cinematic one for those of us watching it unfold. After all, how much emotional and visual oomph can a filmmaker expect to squeeze out of somebody typing into a keyboard (or scribbling in a notebook)? Thankfully, "Loitering with Intent," the very funny, ramshackle new comedy premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, does much to dispense with the actual mechanics of two dudes trying to write a screenplay, instead indulging in the messy familial dynamics that can derail any project, no matter how ambitious or well-planned it might be.

Tribeca Review: 'About Alex' Starring Aubrey Plaza, Nate Parker, Jason Ritter And Max Greenfield

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2014 5:35 PM
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  • 0 Comments
About Alex
Every generation needs a couple of reunion movies, and in “About Alex," we have another one: first-time writer-director Jesse Zwick doesn't so much swing for the fences as attempt to dribble a single down the baseline. This comedy-drama doesn't reach any untold heights, but with formula pictures like this, you can only hope the company is pleasant. With this cast, those meager expectations are reached.

Tribeca Review: ‘Alex Of Venice’ Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Don Johnson & Chris Messina

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 21, 2014 4:47 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Alex of Venice, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
In the tranquil suburbs of Venice, Alex, an environmental rights attorney, is about to receive one major rude awakening. A workaholic, Alex brings home the bacon, while George, her stay-at-home husband, runs the household, and takes care of both their son Dakota and Alex’s forgetful, pot-smoking father. But the rug suddenly gets pulled out from under Alex when her husband unexpectedly decides to pack it all in and announce that he’s leaving the family, at least for now, to work on his waning art career and find some space.

Tribeca Review: Joss Whedon’s ‘In Your Eyes’ Gamely Fluctuates Between Sappy And Sincere

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 21, 2014 9:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In Your Eyes
Before he became one of the more powerful filmmakers in Hollywood, Joss Whedon was known for his quips. These were rattled off and recited by a series of characters who all spoke in the same easily identifiable, highly stylized, pop culture-infused geek language of Whedon himself. (Whedon’s best collaborators, like Drew Goddard and Marti Noxon, knew how to approximate this code better than others.) But there was always another side of Whedon, exhibited in the best episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its cruelly underrated spin-off “Angel,” one that was incredibly sensitive and sincere. It’s this Whedon, the one more interested in pulling at your heartstrings than tickling your funny bone that is on display in “In Your Eyes,” a new supernatural romance that, if you can get past the occasional sappiness, is a pretty moving, offbeat little love story.

Tribeca Review: 'Match' Starring Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino & Matthew Lillard

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 20, 2014 12:37 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Match, Patrick Stewart
In the fitfully entertaining “Match,” Patrick Stewart is Tobi, an experienced dance instructor who has arrived in New York City after a whirlwind globe-trotting lifestyle. His days are spent working with students craving approval and attention, barking orders through his thick brogue. When he returns home, it is to solitude, to knitting and the occasional deli visit. Tobi is a child of the sixties, and his liberation during that period has allowed him a contemporary peace.

Tribeca Review: 'Life Partners' Starring Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester And Adam Brody

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 19, 2014 10:25 AM
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  • 17 Comments
Life Partners
There are two types of intolerable people, and they're both present in “Life Partners.” This comedy depicts a friendship between two grown women, both of whom find themselves shifting in different directions. Responsible Paige (Gillian Jacobs) has a regular 9-to-5 position at a law firm and social gadfly Sasha (Leighton Meester) toils away at a thankless receptionist job, and while neither of these jobs should define these characters, they inevitably do. This shorthand complicates a potentially fine source of drama, because Paige is straight and Sasha is gay.

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