The Playlist

Tribeca Review: Feats Of Superhuman Strength, Filmmaking Of Uncommon Heart In 'Bending Steel'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2013 5:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
You're not likely to see a more inspiring documentary this year than "Bending Steel," the story of one Chris Schoeck, an unassuming New York gentleman with one secret passion. Schoeck is a curious character, an admitted introvert with a slight stutter whom you can tell had to be coaxed to be on camera. When he travels the subway system, bundled up for the cold weather or clad in a workout t-shirt, he's just another fellow on the train, with his casual Irish boyishness on a face that doesn't seem to smile easily. And then you see in his warehouse, standing over thick metal beams, and his gentle hands seize a steel beam. Suddenly, a bit of exertion, and it bends. He isn't Chris Schoeck. He's Chris "Wonder" Schoek.

Tribeca Review: 'A Case Of You' Is A Painfully Insipid Rom-Com For The Social Media Generation

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 22, 2013 4:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It was only a matter of time before someone tried to fully exploit our current social media communication age for the evils of the generic romantic comedy and "A Case Of You," a new Justin Long-led rom-com, does just that; abusing the Facebook platform to create the first creepy FB stalker comedy. Somehow, everything creepy and vile in this Kat Coiro-directed comedy ("L!fe Happens") is meant to seem comically cute and not the restraining-order freaky that it clearly is. Like all of these meretricious and morally-reprehensible culture-farts, it’s presented as harmless and adorable at heart, but as the central quintessentially dorky character becomes more and more fawning and subservient, the actors themselves seem border on queasiness.

Tribeca Review: 'Lil Bub & Friendz' Is Not The Catumentary You Thought It Would Be

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2013 1:05 PM
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  • 4 Comments
WHY IS THIS A THING, PEOPLE? Do you like cats? Stupid question, you're on the internet. We can see you've got a tab open with all sorts of cat videos and gifs. You told your friends you were sick of them sending Keyboard Cat videos to you, but you secretly weren't. You ironically bought one of those "Hang In There" posters with a kitty grasping at a tree. You wish some of your friends were cats, because instead of talking about sports or religion, they would just mew and yawn all the time. You love cats, and if you don't, you just haven't cuddled them enough. And this is not a time for judgment: cats are kind of awesome. So are dogs. No hate.

Tribeca Review: ‘Big Bad Wolves’ Is A Deeply Brilliant, Surprisingly Funny Israeli Revenge Thriller

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 22, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Big Bad Wolves
Back in 2009, “Let the Right One In,” a slick, deeply felt genre piece from a far away land, played the Tribeca Film Festival and blew almost everyone (this writer included) away. It’s hard not to think about “Let the Right One In” while watching “Big Bad Wolves,” a similarly slick foreign language thriller playing at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It’s questionable whether or not “Big Bad Wolves” will receive the kind of attention “Let the Right One In” did (its subject matter is significantly stickier than two young vampires falling in love), but it’s every bit the triumph that film was – it’s bold, beautifully told, and surprisingly funny.

Tribeca Review: Neil LaBute Goes Back To Basics In Spartan, Scintillating 'Some Velvet Morning'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2013 10:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
When filmmakers find themselves in a rough place, they tend to dial back their productions, usually by necessity, but also as a refresher course in refueling the creative spirit. Playwright Neil LaBute has had a rough go of it in his last few big-screen adventures: "Lakeview Terrace" was a half-baked contemporary thriller clearly made to fill the personal coffers, though one could argue it reflected an intriguing take on contemporary race relations in suburban communities. And remaking "Death At A Funeral" nearly shot-for-shot was always going to be a thankless task. The fact that these two films followed the misunderstood-but-still-questionable "Wicker Man" remake seems to point to a creative force in decline, at least onscreen -- LaBute remains active in the world of shorts and stage, where his reputation has yet to be sullied.

Tribeca Review: Hollywood Satire 'Trust Me' Continues Industry Self-Love Designed As Self-Mockery

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 5:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It takes some audacity to open your film with an homage to "Sunset Boulevard," but that doesn't seem to worry Clark Gregg. A journeyman actor valued by filmmakers like David Mamet, Gregg has had a dynamic few years, making his directorial debut with Chuck Palahniuk adaptation "Choke" and an attention-getting role in "The Avengers." Bold as all that may be, he has used this clout to front "Trust Me" as both an actor and director, and you wonder if this reliable screen vet isn't stretching himself a bit thin at this point.

Tribeca Review: ‘The Pretty One’ Is A Sweet Fairy Tale Of Identity Lost Then Found

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 21, 2013 2:32 PM
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  • 0 Comments
There are movies about twins and there are movies about switching identities and there is “The Pretty One,” which uses both conceits for its tale of self and lack thereof. And to be fair, the premise of this quirky Tribeca comedic drama -- that’s ultimately much more affecting and genuinely melancholy than you’d expect -- is a little cutesy and cloying on the surface. And admittedly, the picture takes some time to find its bearings.

Tribeca Review: A Flashy New Boogeyman Highlights The Otherwise Dismal 'Mr. Jones'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Mr. Jones
What's distinct about "Mr. Jones" is that it lengthily utilizes three separate storytelling techniques. The narrative begins with found footage, then segues into documentary before closing with a more conventional structure. Given the sloppiness of Karl Mueller's directorial debut, it feels less like innovation and more like an attempt to cover up shortcomings, as if he had the kernel of an idea and only begrudgingly filled it out. Usually you see this in screenwriting classes during workshop sessions. Rarely does it play out on the screen in front of your eyes.

Tribeca Review: ‘Sunlight Jr.’ Authentically Portrays The Underclass, But Spares Few Rays Of Hope

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 21, 2013 11:01 AM
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  • 6 Comments
To orient you to a filmmaker who's been away for far too long: If Wes Anderson’s central preoccupation is tightly-controlled diorama-like compositions, Tim Burton’s obsession is dark, kooky misfits, and Sofia Coppola’s fixation is alienated teenagers soundtracked to exquisite pop songs, then Laurie Collyer’s main absorption is the forgotten underclass and their perils.

Tribeca Review: A Drug Trafficking Romeo And Juliet Face The Tragedy Of 'Deep Powder'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 10:48 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It doesn’t get much more Romeo and Juliet than “Deep Powder,” a drug melodrama based on true events but otherwise inspired by a love driven by classic class conflict. The handsome, broke townie in this instance is “Evil Dead” star (deal with it) Shiloh Fernandez as Danny, a puppy dog-cute snow-lift operator. He’s got eyes for kewpie-doll rich girl Natasha (Haley Bennett), who informs her that she accidentally dropped her wallet on the lift, but that she had no pressing need for him to give it back. The shock is that the wallet has four hundred dollars that she presumably won’t miss, which is even more incredible considering this was the early '80s, and inflation translates that to roughly $6,056.55. Roughly. Check the math.

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