In the Loop

In the Loop
One of the standouts of Tribeca 2009, In the Loop actually premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. That's a trend that keeps popping up at Tribeca as the fest continues to try to find its own voice -- all the really good stuff has already debuted elsewhere.

It's a fact that doesn't diminish how entertaining this British-made political comedy is, however. Adapted from the BBC TV series The Thick of It, the film satirizes the inane behind-the-scenes maneuverings of both the British and U.S. governments as the two jockey into position when their leaders decide to start a war. Sounds like fun stuff, right?

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One-Eyed Monster

One-Eyed Monster
The delicate line between porn flicks and “regular” cinema is broken once again as Ron Jeremy lends his, er, um, “talent” to One-Eyed Monster.

The cast and crew of a porn quickie venture up to the mountains of Northern California to work on their latest direct-to-video hit in seclusion, where the filmmakers can work in peace, without the film’s backers breathing down the neck of slimy producer Jim (Jeff Denton, who looks like the lovechild of Zach Braff and Michael Vartan) and his crew of professionals (Jason Graham, Caleb Mayo, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Amber Benson). Among the faces are veteran porn stars Ron (Ron Jeremy) and Veronica (Veronica Hart) and their newer, younger co-stars Angel (Carmen Hart, a working porn actress), Lance (Bart Fletcher), Wanda (Jenny Guy), and Rock (John Edward Lee).

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The Mist

The Mist
The Mist is what a horror film should be - dark, tense, and punctuated by just enough gore to keep the viewer's flinch reflex intact. In fact, that movie's ending is so uncompromising that one must assume director Frank Darabont had final cut so the studio couldn't interfere. (It's worth noting that the ending is not the same as that of Stephen King's novella, but I won't mention how it has changed.) Darabont has fashioned a tense motion pictures that's ultimately more about paranoia, religious fanaticism, and the price of hopelessness than it is about monsters. But the creatures are present and accounted for, lurking in the white-out that is the mist. Someone has finally succeeded where John Carpenter failed with The Fog.

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High Tension

High Tension
When I first saw High Tension at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival, I wrote the following: " [High Tension] has virtually no chance of finding a North American distributor. After all, what's the market for slasher films with subtitles?" Imagine my surprise to hear that Lions Gate Films had picked up the North American rights and were determined to release the film unedited (which garnered an NC-17 rating) and subtitled. Fast-forward 18 moths. Apparently, more financial concerns have cause Lions Gate to take a step back. The version of High Tension that is finally getting a United States release has been slightly trimmed (to get an R rating) and dubbed into English. The dubbing isn't as big an issue as it might be in another movie. There's not a lot of dialogue in High Tension, so the dubbing offers only a minimal distraction. For the most part, the characters are trying to be quiet, not engaging in long or meaningful conversations. The main reason to see this movie has nothing to do with what the characters say, but with their horrific descent into the macabre.

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Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run
Based on the evidence at hand, one has to assume the missing ingredient is Edgar Wright. Wright, the co-writer and director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is nowhere to be found in the credits list of Run Fatboy Run. Instead, on this occasion, Simon Pegg is creatively teamed with director David Schwimmer and co-scripter Michael Ian Black. The result is tepid humor and a less-than-compelling feel-good story of redemption and re-kindled romance. With Shaun and Fuzz, Pegg took well-known genres and firmly skewered them. Those who believe the underdog/sports movie will get the same treatment in Run Fatboy Run will be disappointed. This is yet another parody that falls victim to the desire to become what it's intending to satirize.

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Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich
These days, critics (and non-critics, for that matter) are fond of complaining about how multiplexes are populated by cookie-cutter motion pictures that follow safe, formula-derived patterns designed to please audiences who want a different version of a story they have already seen dozens of times. And, while there's some truth to the maxim that "there's nothing new under the sun," Being John Malkovich tries hard to be the exception. Admittedly, the themes addressed by the movie - those of identity, celebrity, and manipulation - are familiar, but the manner in which director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman address them is fresh and inventive. I'm not arrogant enough to claim that nothing like Being John Malkovich has ever previously been committed to celluloid, but, if it has been, I haven't seen it.

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Fallen

Fallen
Call it Touched by a Demon. Gregory Hoblit's Fallen is a serial killer movie with an unusual, horrific twist. If marketed properly, this film could have crossover appeal for both those who appreciate supernatural tales like The Prophecy and those who crave grim, dark thrillers like Silence of the Lambs andSeven. In fact, there's even a little Twin Peaks to be found here, albeit with the lion's share of the weirdness distilled out. (Remember BOB?) The biggest failing of Fallen is that, although it's consistently interesting, it's not always as edgy and suspenseful as one might hope.

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Double Take

Double Take
Back in the nineteen-fifties, the world-acknowledged Master of Suspense took to the global stage and put America on the edge of its seat. That man was, of course, Nikita Krushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union, and in the latter part of the decade it looked as if they were going to win the space race, much to the embarrassment of the United States, not to mention the concern that if the Russians could get a satellite into space, how long would it be before weapons were being placed there, pointed at them? But there was one man giving Krushchev a run for his money in the suspense stakes...

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The Job

The Job
A ruthless and sexy hitwoman named cj is contractd to perform one final job before she leaves the life of cold-blooded killing behind forever. As she seeks out her last victim it might be too late.

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Walking Shadow

Walking Shadow
As a favor to his longtime lover Dr. Susan Silverman, Spenser agrees to investigate the stalking of a theater company director, pro bono. But before he can get started, an actor is killed by an arrow in the middle of a play. Now that theres a real-life murder to investigate, Spenser and Hawk, get to do what they do best--even if it means death threats from the Chinese underworld, being ordered out of town by the tough local police chief, and dodging bullets and crossbows at every turn. By the time they leave the quaint ocean front community, the population has decreased by three, and live theater will never be the same.

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The Clearing

The Clearing
Wayne Hayes (Redford), and his wife Eileen (Mirren) are living the American dream in a wealthy Pittsburgh suburb, having raised two children and built up a successful business from scratch. He is looking forward to a peaceful retirement with Eileen. However, everything changes when Wayne is kidnapped in broad daylight by a former employee, Arnold Mack (Dafoe). While Wayne tries negotiating with the kidnapper, Eileen works with the FBI to try to secure her husband's release. During the investigation, Eileen learns that Wayne has continued an extramarital affair that he promised to end months previously.

Eileen is eventually instructed to deliver the ransom to the kidnapper, but Arnold takes the money without returning her husband. As it turns out, Wayne had been murdered by Arnold the day of the kidnapping. Although Eileen's ordeal takes place over the course of a week, the film is edited to show Wayne's kidnapping as if was happening at the same time.

Mack is eventually caught when he begins to spend the ransom money in the neighborhood where he lives. At a local grocery store, he uses a $100 bill to make a purchase. The store manager calls authorities and verifies the serial number on the $100 bill is on a watch list the FBI distributed to local businesses. In the end, Eileen receives a loving note written by Wayne before his death.

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Earthlings

Earthlings
Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, EARTHLINGS chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.

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Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
A biography of Ian Dury who was stricken with polio at a young age and defied expectations by becoming one of the founder of the punk-rock scene in Britain in the 1970s.

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Undefeatable

Undefeatable
The film follows Kristi Jones (Rothrock) who, along with her gang, take part in Mafia-run street fights to earn money for her sister's college education. Kristi's sister hopes to become a doctor and pay for Kristi's education.

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Kaena: The Prophecy

Kaena: The Prophecy
AXIS, a gigantic coiling plant, stretches high above the clouds... At its center is a village whose people are in mortal danger because Axis is withering... its sap is drying up. The people beg their gods for help... but to no avail. Compelled by a mysterious force, Kaena, a rebellious, high-spirited teenage girl will defy the High Priest and her peoples ancestral beliefs to take the perilous journey through the Axis and discover what dark secrets lie beyond the clouds... A dying world, an evil force, a terrible secret...

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Nurse Betty

Nurse Betty
A Kansas City waitress with dreams of becoming a nurse becomes delusional after seeing her no-good car salesman husband murdered. Becoming delusional from shock, she becomes convinced that she is the former fianc

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