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Review

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    Review: 'The Thing' Lamely Inhabits John Carpenter's Original & Turns Into A Generic Monster Movie

    "The Thing" arrives this weekend as a prequel to John Carpenter's masterful 1982 film, that aims to theoretically expand on the story presented nearly three decades ago by telling us what happened at the Norwegian compound that first housed the alien infection that then spread to the American base. But perhaps it should be no surprise that screenwriter Eric Heisserer, the man behind "Final Destination 5" and the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" reboot, has little imagination or ability to bring anything new to the table. So what we end up with is a strange hybrid of a movie, one that is oddly slavishly devoted to Carpenter's original, but when giv...

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    Review: Byzantine, Bloody Almodóvar Takes A New Direction With 'The Skin I Live In'

    The following is a reprint of our review from Cannes.

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    Review: Starpower Like Julia Roberts & Ryan Reynolds Can't Save Flaccid 'Fireflies In The Garden'

    “Fireflies in the Garden” is the cinematic equivalent of going out to dinner with your friend’s family and then having to watch them all fight like cats and dogs the whole time: it’s got to be worse for the people going through it, but you sure as hell have no interest in watching it. Writer-director Dennis Lee, who I can only imagine drew from a deep well of personal experiences – or if he didn’t, clearly suffers from dysfunction envy – created this vivid tale of an embittered writer returning to his childhood home to confront a troubled past. But he failed to realize that personal catharsis isn’t the same as popular entertainment, especiall...

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    Review: 'Footloose' Is An Expressive Old School Ode To Youthful Abandon

    Once upon a time, there was an outsider who came to a small town of limited imagination. He looked upon the town’s ignorant forces of authority and challenged them, fighting for the oppressed and changing the social order. It’s a story that’s been told countless times in various forms of media, to t...

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    VIFF '11: Johnnie To's 'Life Without Principle' An Uneven, All Too Familiar Financial Crisis Drama

    While movies are primarily considered a form of entertainment, they do have the ability to inform, especially to a mass audience. But that’s a slippery slope. All too easily, the audience can be taken right out of the story if things get too didactic. We at the secret Playlist headquarters (which is...

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    NYFF ‘11 Review: A Slight & Superficial 'My Week With Marilyn' Often Resembles A Lifetime Movie

    Marked by an admirable, but certainly not spectacular performance by Michelle Williams -- in a role she's arguably not very suited for -- some wonderful costuming, set design and locations, and a stand-out supporting turn by Judi Dench, there aren't many other favorable things to say about "My Week ...

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    NYFF ’11 Review: ‘Pina’ Is A Gorgeously Photographed, Three-Dimensional Sleeping Pill

    It’s strange to be truly startled and taken aback by the powerful effects of properly utilized 3D not in some Hollywood blockbuster where half of a major Midwestern American city is blown to smithereens by giant transforming robots, but during a quiet, understated, impressionistic documentary/tribute to influential German choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch (directed by Wim Wenders, no less). In fact, this might be the most amazingly you-are-there use of the technology since James Cameron landed us on Pandora. It’s just that, along with the fantastical visas and bounding, leaping, protruding dancers, you wish that the movie were more than ju...

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    NYFF '11 Review: Bela Tarr's Swan Song 'The Turin Horse' Is Despairing But Unforgettable

    If the name Béla Tarr rings any sort of bell in your head, chances are you've already formed an unwavering opinion of his work. He hasn't exactly shaken up his approach since 1988's "Damnation" (that said, this writer -- probably like most -- isn't familiar with his crop of '90s short films), and if...

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    VIFF '11: Thai Existentialist Hitman Film 'Headshot' Proves The Genre Still Has A Pulse

    The hitman genre has been done to death. If cinema can be a reflection of the times we live in, and a recorded piece of history of what the filmmakers are concerned with at the time of inception and production, then it’s amazing any of us are still alive. When done well, the genre can be a lot...

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    NYFF '11 Review: 'Sleeping Sickness' A Morality Tale That Doesn't Fulfill Its Promise

    Poor Ulrich Köhler. His first feature "Bungalow" was a quiet, very reserved tale about a young soldier going AWOL. Instead of finishing his service, he gives into lethargy, laying around and doing nothing while hoping the military doesn't catch up with him. Once he's introduced to his brother's sweetheart, he finally finds his purpose: get in her pants at all costs. No, it wasn't terribly ambitious, but it was a relatively solid debut and was interesting enough to make those who actually saw it keep an eye on the new German filmmaker. Four years passed and finally his sophomore picture "Windows On Monday" was unleashed with a whimper. This fi...

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