50 Most Anticipated Films: Fall Movie Preview

While I certainly don’t speak for every voice here at The Playlist, I do feel comfortable in saying there are few directors that excite us more than Tomas Alfredson. The director broke out with his fantastic “Let The Right One In” (which spawned a decent Hollywood reboot), then knocked it out of the park with “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a movie so tightly cut and intricately paced, that it’s hard to find flaw with. Now it’s been a cold six years with a film from the director, but still it’s difficult to overstate how excited we were to find out he had paired with Michael Fassbender to bring “The Snowman” to life. Based on the best-selling serial killer novel, it’s hard not to be reminded of of the similarly grim and cold murder mystery series, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” which made for the sort of adult fair that movies are wanting for these days. The only catch is that it’s embarrassingly hard to take the first trailer seriously

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Adam Wingard’s ‘Death Note’ Is Thoughtless & Incoherent [Review]

An intelligent but emotionally wounded teenager with the ability to play god by killing anybody he wants, just by writing their name in a book, is admittedly a compelling idea. The potential for drama packed into the premise alone is worthwhile, not to mention that the boy’s girlfriend is seemingly aroused by his ability to kill, that his father is a reputable cop, and that a secret agency that raises children from infancy to become unstoppable detectives has dispatched their best man to stop him. It’s a lot to digest, especially in just 94 minutes. But, the hopes of the American adaptation of the infamous Japanese manga “Death Note” were put into the hands of Adam Wingard, the rising horror star behind “You’re Next” and “The Guest,” and anxiety eased some. Unfortunately, Wingard’s film is an incoherent mess of tones and styles, confused character motives, and murky narratives. The first name in this Death Note, is the film itself. The rest…

‘To The Bone’ Works Hard To Do Justice To The Realities Of Anorexia [Review]

Addiction has long been one of Hollywood’s favorite muses. It makes for empowering, emotionally charged films about one of life’s most trying personal battles. Of course, the success and believability of these sorts of movies vary wildly: for every “Half Nelson” and “Trainspotting” there’s a “Thanks For Sharing” or “Flight” (which was fuelled by a fine performance, but in the end was little more than histrionics). Such movies are packed with personal demons, hallucinations and — in a lot of cases — triumph, a set of frames that veteran TV director Marti Noxon’s feature debut “To The Bone” fits nicely inside of.  The rest…

Ranking The Best ‘Spider-Man’ Movie Characters

Martin Sheen has had his ups and downs, but throughout his career he has played the stern-but-loving father figure with grace and menace in equal dose. His Uncle Ben is no exception. Unlike the Ben in Raimi’s (superior) film, Sheen imbues the character with rough edges; he’s a man of principle who believes in the responsibility of good, but falls victim to the petty whims of anger. This, of course, is best exemplified in the scene where Ben, full of rage and righteousness, recounts to Peter the “moral obligation” of doing good — the embodiment of the difficulty to live up to your principles. Basically Sheen turns an iconic character into a living, breathing man, and Webb’s film is better for it.

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Fresh & Diverse ‘Signature Move’ Is Also Overly Familiar [BAMcinemaFest Review]

For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been living in a post-“Wonder Woman” world. A world which, you can be certain, is a better world. One where the genuine hunger for a female (super)hero has been served a tasty menu and a collective appetite has been whetted. One where doors are likely cracking open for female directors and female-centric stories and narratives are being considered more seriously (if only because studio execs are seeing the piles of cash “Wonder Woman” is raking in). These are, of course, generous assumptions about Crusty, White Hollywood. But, what can’t be denied, is that the film filled a void and people were genuinely happy to witness a reflection of a more diverse world. Basically, no matter what banal stories Hollywood studios are greenlighting, people are actually looking for fresh, heterogeneous narratives. They are looking to see themselves on the screen (and not all people are white men) and “Signature Move,” is, in so many ways, just the sort of film some people are looking for. The rest…

Tribeca Shorts: ‘Tokyo Project’ With Elisabeth Moss, ‘For Flint,’ & ‘Approaching A Breakthrough’ [Review]

For Flint
For the general American public, the Flint, Michigan water crisis is over. The problem was identified, the public was outraged, the media coverage faded. But for those residents of Flint — a former industrial hub an hour north of Detroit — the catastrophe is far from finished: lawsuits are still ongoing, funds are being allocated, water lines are being replaced, and the drinking water for thousands of people is still poisonous. All of which is to avoid mentioning that the water crisis was the culmination of disaster in a once-prosperous city that has since faced severe hardship and mismanagement at the hands of government officials; Flint’s poverty rate is above 40 percent and the median household income is less than half of what it is in the rest of Michigan. The city, according to residents featured in Brian Schulz’s short documentary “For Flint,” has hit bottom, and the only place left to go is up. The rest…

The Terrence Malick Mixtape: Examining The Use Of Music In The Director’s Films

From time to time it’s good to remind the world (and ourselves) that we are The Playlist, and in addition to being movie lovers, we are also obsessed with music, specifically movie music. It also helps when a director gives us good reason to take a long look at their musical choices — i.e. by making a movie about music. Thankfully, impressionistic mastermind Terrence Malick has finally done so with his ephemeral, soul-searching new movie, “Song To Song.” It’s a film, like much of his work has been, about the search for divinity amid the tumult of life – only this time, the search goes… song to song.

The director’s latest isn’t our favorite (check out our C-grade review), but it’s nevertheless hard not to be dazzled by his visual bravado and the raw emotion that he can elicit from a waltzing camera (courtesy of his longtime partner Emmanuel Lubezki). Much of which comes from the outlandish beauty that Malick seems to see in the ordinary mundaneness of existence (which, it must be said, is skewed some by the outlandishly beautiful people he casts). When Malick is at his best, his contemplative cinematography resonates as though we are all, in his patient hands, bearing witness to the divinity of everyday life. But just as key to his success, and so often overlooked, is the evocative music — and the provocative silence — that so perfectly harmonize with his whirling visual aesthetic.

So to celebrate “Song To Song” we have set out here to explore the music that’s most crucial to Malick’s films, the songs that most moved us, the motifs most vital, and, generally, the best Malick Mixtape we can put together.

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