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The Playlist

Tribeca Review: Will Forte Makes Dramatic Debut In Clunky But Affecting 'Run And Jump'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 24, 2013 12:59 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Run & Jump, Will Forte
There’s acting and then there’s “acting.” The first requires building credible characters and relationships, developing organic conflicts within the framework of a concrete story. The second involves loading up a story with excessive clutter that it drowns out any work of which the actors are capable, turning them into drama automatons: it’s mostly reacting, both removing the burden of work from most performers while also placing a greater spotlight on their very presence, as they are forced to “react” instead of act. This also helps illustrate the difference between drama and melodrama.

Tribeca Review: 'Reaching For The Moon' Movingly Reaches For Love, Literature & Loss In Brazil

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • April 24, 2013 11:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Whether you’ve never heard of Elizabeth Bishop or are vaguely aware of her poetry or wrote your doctoral thesis on her NYU years, you will enjoy this film. “Reaching for the Moon” is an intimate portrait of a years-long love affair between the Vassar-educated Bishop and well-connected Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares, which includes the stunning backdrops of New York’s Central Park and Pétropolis, “The Imperial City” of Brazil.

Tribeca Review: The Terrific 'Hide Your Smiling Faces' Is A Haunting Look At Adolescence

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 23, 2013 5:57 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Hide Your Smiling Faces
In a strangely beautiful and unnerving moment, "Hide Your Smiling Faces" opens up with an arresting visual: a close-up of a snake -- its mouth wrapped around a fish, slowly struggling to swallow it whole. It's disturbing, fascinating and the shot lingers with a sense of awe, curiosity and wonder. And it many ways, this remarkably captured moment sums up everything this striking debut feature is about.

Tribeca Review: ‘Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors’ Tackles Autism, Superstorm Sandy And Wins

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • April 23, 2013 10:01 AM
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  • 3 Comments
With this being Autism Awareness Month and communities still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, it’s tempting to dismiss “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” as a convenient combination of buzzwords – I nearly did. But while watching the film, I quickly dismissed those preemptive assumptions and became entranced with this poignant portrait of a family and their struggles on the outskirts of Manhattan, reminding me again about what makes the Tribeca Film Festival so great –- the heart-felt storytelling that sneaks through the red carpet barricades and evokes a transcendent realism, be it documentary or narrative.

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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  • 2 Comments
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.

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