The Playlist

Tribeca Review: Morgan Spurlock's Crowd-Pleasing 'Mansome' Is Cute, But Unilluminating

  • By The Playlist
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  • April 30, 2012 6:41 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What makes a man shave his chest? Sport a hirsute, ridiculously long and absurd-looking beard? Bleach his anus, thread his eyebrows or play around with his facial hair in any number of manscaping ways? These are some of the questions posed in Morgan Spurlock's latest cheery and congenial documentary, "Mansome."

Tribeca Review: 'Knife Fight' Is Political Mud-Slinging For Dummies

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 28, 2012 12:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments
For those of you who felt “Ides Of March” was entirely too cerebral and challenging, here comes the dunderheaded “Knife Fight.” A political satire that treads no new ground, this name-heavy comedy wastes an engaging central performance by Rob Lowe, who is completely game to play all sides of the political machine, swinging from the gubernatorial rafters like a contemporary “Phantom Of The Paradise,” bent on sabotaging his opposition and leaving the system a scorched earth for his clients to walk over the ashes.

Tribeca Review: 'Una Noche' A Funny, Bawdy, Hopeful Debut Picture From Lucy Mulloy

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 28, 2012 9:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There’s a youthful energy running through “Una Noche” that threatens to overwhelm, from its sun-kissed first image to its final moments on the sands of the beach. Alive and vibrant, Lucy Mulloy’s often bawdy first feature is narrated by Lila, a blossoming teenage girl confused by her sexuality, alienated from the local girls. The language is Spanish, but teenage cruelty is universal, as her peers mock her slight body hair and tomboyish interest in taekwondo.

Tribeca Review: 'Whole Lotta Sole' Is An Insufferable Comic Take On The British Gangster Movie

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 27, 2012 9:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The title of "Whole Lotta Sole" is the kind of gratingly obnoxious flourish that makes you hate the movie immediately. First of all it sits in your mouth like a blob of half-chewed gummy bears; secondly, it sounds like a direct-to-video independent movie produced in the mid-90s that the Weinsteins picked up on a whim; and thirdly its implied double meaning – it's the name of a fish market in the film but its phonetic weight means something too ("whole lot of soul") – is meant to deepen the movie but instead leaves you even more irritated. The movie is pretty much exactly like that – it tries to sugarcoat the British gangster movie (and we're using the "British" term pretty broadly; it's set in Belfast) and leaves you totally annoyed and unsatisfied.

Tribeca Review: 'Supporting Characters' Is A Middling Movie, But A Decent Would-Be Pilot Episode For A Show We Might Watch

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 26, 2012 8:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
What fascinates about “Supporting Characters,” the new relationship comedy premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, is that it’s greatest strength also registers as its most notable weakness. This decidedly Noo Yawk tale of an editing team in New York City and their satellite friends wouldn’t be at home as an extended pilot on IFC, with these two best friend leads getting into all sorts of middle-aged male troubles. It’s good, and bad, just like TV.

Tribeca Review: 'Graceland' Mashes Together Suspense Thriller With Sobering Child Trafficking Drama, With Mixed Results

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 26, 2012 7:35 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Mild-mannered husband and father Marlon Villar is just having one of those days. The boss is on his case. His wife is being needy. His daughter is acting up. The cops are bugging him. “Graceland” begins as a compendium of what some adults would call a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Wah wah.

Tribeca Review: 'Beyond The Hill' A Slow Burn Without The Burn

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • April 26, 2012 7:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Initially a proficient micro-budget character study with promises of suspense, "Beyond The Hill" squanders its tension by hitting repetitive notes and devolving into a heavy-handed parable. Emin Alper's little bag of tricks can't sustain an entire film and no amount of beautifully-photographed landscapes make up for the fact that movie is essentially a slow-burn without the burn.

Tribeca Review: 'Deadfall' Starring Eric Bana & Olivia Wilde Is Trapped In A Blizzard of Coincidence & Two-Dimensional Characters

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 26, 2012 6:17 PM
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  • 4 Comments
"Deadfall" starts off strong enough – three criminals, led by Addison (Eric Bana) and his sexy sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) speed away from some unspecified job (it's later revealed to be a casino heist). It's icy out and their driver (the only black character in the whole movie) overcompensates, avoiding a deer, which sends their car cart wheeling over a snowy embankment. As Addison and Liza climb out of the wrecked car they notice their very-dead driver, his head through the windshield. "He should have been wearing his safety belt," Bana grumbles, dripping a syrupy Southern accent on top of his natural Australian drawl. It's a perfect way to begin the movie – darkly comic, oddly thrilling, weirdly sexual (there's definitely an incestuous vibe between the siblings) – but these opening moments are probably the strongest in the movie's 94 minute running time.

Tribeca: David Riker & Abbie Cornish Discuss Immigration Tale 'The Girl'

  • By John Lichman
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  • April 26, 2012 3:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Known for his neo-realist film about the plight of Latin American immigrants living in New York City, "La Ciudad," indie writer/director David Riker has spent the better part of 14 years evolving story of his latest feature, "The Girl" which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last week. In the minimalist drama, Abbie Cornish plays Ashley, a minimum wage earner working in a podunk South Texas chain store, who is determined to get her son back; taken by child services after a drunken mistake. She finds out her wandering, absentee father (Will Patton) is on a self-proclaimed "lucky streak" which turns out to mean he's using his truck driving job to sneak Mexican immigrants into the country. When she tries her hand at it out of desperation, it goes terribly wrong --except she now has to deal with Rosa (Maritza Santiago Hernandez), a little girl that forces her to help find her mother and deal with her actions.

Tribeca Review: 'As Luck Would Have It' Is The Jewel Of The Fest

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 26, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Alex de la Iglesia’s “As Luck Would Have It” features, in supporting roles, Salma Hayek and Carolina Bang, two of the most ravishing and talented Spanish language actresses to ever grace the screen. Most viewers are well aware of Ms. Hayek, who has aged gracefully into Hollywood’s demeaning mother-ghetto for actresses over the age of 35. Few know of Ms. Bang, who was the centerpiece of de la Iglesia’s last film, the criminally-insane “The Last Circus.” Both command the screen with old school Hollywood glamour and mature sexuality, and yet neither manages to obscure the machinations of de la Iglesia’s sharp media satire. This, as Queen once sang long ago, is a kind of magic.

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