The Playlist

Stephen Daldry Talks Asperger's, Depicting 9/11 In 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,' And The Oscars

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • December 20, 2011 12:30 PM
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At present, up to the imminent release of “Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close,” Stephen Daldry is three-for-three in terms of films to Best Director Oscar nominations; there’s clearly something about the stories he tells hitting a nerve among Academy voters, no matter how challenging (“The Hours”) or even controversial (“The Reader”) his subject matter. 'Extremely Loud' suggests that he’s as interested as ever in posing hard questions and finding powerful answers, as he brings to life Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel about a child with Asperger’s who takes an extraordinary journey to come to terms with the death of his father during 9/11.

Frances McDormand Joins John Krasinski In Matt Damon's Directorial Debut

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 12:00 PM
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They are still, as far as we're aware, the best of pals, but it's hard not to see a vague sense of rivalry between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. After all, they arrived together, the disgustingly young stars and writers of "Good Will Hunting," winning an Oscar for their trouble with the script, and swiftly became Hollywood's hottest properties. Initially it was Affleck who looked to be the bigger star, with "Armageddon" and "Shakespeare in Love" arriving in quick succession, but he soon became stuck in the likes of "Paycheck" and "Gigli," while Damon became a megastar thanks to "The Bourne Identity" and has barely put a foot wrong since.

Watch: Ryan Gosling, Jim Carrey & Eva Mendes Star In Drunk History's 'The Night Before Christmas'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 11:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The concept behind "Drunk History" is beautiful in its simplicity. Get a comedian stinking drunk, get them to tell a slurred, jumbled version of a historical event, and then film a reconstruction of those events, full of movie-stars lip-syncing to the pissed-up narrator's words. Michael Cera, Don Cheadle, Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell number among the A-listers who've featured so far in the series, which is one of Funny or Die's most successful ongoing clips.

Charlie Kaufman Confirms That Next Directorial Effort 'Frank Or Francis' Is A Full-On Musical

  • By Ryan Sartor
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  • December 20, 2011 11:00 AM
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When a screenwriter is admired, it is often based on how well he or she can construct a story (Robert Towne, William Goldman) or write dialogue (Aaron Sorkin, David Mamet), but Charlie Kaufman is the rare screenwriter who is revered for the strength of his ideas. He certainly feels like the first writing auteur, and it’s appropriate that he began directing his own scripts with 2008’s "Synecdoche, New York" (That’s not to disparage the great films Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry made out of Kaufman scripts, although as far as “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” goes, the less said, the better. Director George Clooney and Kaufman infamously butted heads over that film.)

The National, Jonsi, Zooey Deschanel Or Uh, Justin Bieber Could Win An Oscar For Best Original Song

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 20, 2011 10:30 AM
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And then there were...39. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday the songs that are eligible to compete for Best Original Song at the Oscars, and as you might guess, it's a pretty random assortment of songs. But for those of you holding out hope that the Academy will recognize "I Don't Know How She Does It," keep that flame burning bright.

Matt Damon's Loyalty To Paul Greengrass & Friction With Tony Gilroy May Prevent Another Movie For Jason Bourne

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 20, 2011 9:30 AM
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  • 5 Comments
It's pretty rare for nice guy Matt Damon to stick the knife in anyone, but when he spoke to GQ recently, his candid remarks about screenwriter, and longtime Bourne series scribe Tony Gilroy, made their way around the world. Calling Gilroy's draft for "The Bourne Ultimatum" a "career-ender" and "readable" (it was later rewritten by George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns), it was another sting sent to the screenwriter who has already had a rocky relationship with the franchise.

The Playlist Staff Pick Their Most Underrated & Overrated Films Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 9:26 AM
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  • 66 Comments
One of the pecularities of our site is our insistence on writing in the third personn, something designed to create the impression of a collective, a hive mind, and it's served us fairly well so far. But the realities of this are a little trickier; we're not all programmed the same way, and our beloved readers, understandably, can be puzzled to see a film derided in a review, and then ranking highly in our end-of-year features. But the truth is, we're not all cut from the same cloth; one person's treasure can be another's trash, and the debates around The Playlist's proverbial water cooler rage on year-round (for some reason, we continue to fight about Polanski's "The Ghost Writer," two years after it came out).

'This Must Be The Place' With Sean Penn & 'Predisposed' With Jesse Eisenberg Added To Sundance Line-Up

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 8:58 AM
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At this point in time, it feels like Sundance is still months away, but actually, it's only a matter of a few weeks, and once Christmas and New Year are out of the way, we'll practically be there. Most of the line-up's been announced already, and off the top of our heads, it's the most promising that Park City has seen in quite some time. But it's not quite done, with the festival announcing four new features added at the last minute, bringing the total up to 117 full-length films, from thirty different countries.

Interview: 'Ghost Protocol' Director Brad Bird Hopes Earthquake Epic '1906' Is Next, Would Like To Revive Sci-Fi Noir 'Ray Gunn'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 20, 2011 8:03 AM
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Brad Bird has made a bold, fascinating leap from animation to live action with this week's glorious popcorn epic "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." But we were curious as to what kind of connection he still has with Pixar, his former home base, as well as what else he is working on. In the second part of our lengthy interview with the filmmaker (you can read the first part here), he fills us in on Pixar, his live action historical epic "1906," the status of his animated film noir "Ray Gunn," what former Pixar owner Steve Jobs meant to him, and why Wall Street is so scared of Pixar.

'21 Jump Street' Gets Slightly Different Trailer & A Poster, New German 'Avengers' Trailer Shows New Stuff (But Is In German)

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 19, 2011 7:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If there's one potentially awful big screen remake of a classic (maybe the word classic should have been in ironic quotes) that we're looking forward to, it's "21 Jump Street." There's really no reason this thing should work - it's a comedic take on a dramatic series, which worked out so well for "Starsky & Hutch;" it co-stars the frequently wooden Channing Tatum; and it just reeks of a kind of desperate nostalgia. That said: we cannot wait. And now we have a new-ish trailer and poster to hold us over. Also, some new footage from "The Avengers" comes courtesy of a German trailer that seems awfully strident and authoritarian.

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