The Playlist

Review: 'Toy Story Of Terror!' Is A Hauntingly Great Halloween Special

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 14, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
When development began on what would eventually become "Toy Story," back in the early '90s, the project was not envisioned as the first-ever fully computer-generated animated feature. No, back then Disney and Pixar's goal was more modest: it would be a television special, timed to Christmas and based in part on John Lasseter's Academy Award-winning short film "Tin Toy." The team at Pixar still wanted to do a feature, but a 30-minute television special would be the perfect in-between; these were filmmakers who had very limited experience actually hammering out the fundamentals of long-form storytelling. In Disney's estimation (particularly animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg), Pixar had to walk before they could crawl. Of course, that didn't happen.

Review: Paul Greengrass' Harrowing, Absorbing Thriller 'Captain Phillips' Starring Tom Hanks

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 11, 2013 5:38 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Captain Phillips
Comparing oranges and apples tends not to be conducive to any critical discourse, but to get something off my chest that I can’t shake (and hopefully provides some convincing context), in the fall sweepstakes to create the most gripping, immersive and emotionally resonant survival tale, Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips” has the surprisingly thematically similar “Gravity” licked. With apologies to Alfonso Cuarón’s film, which I enjoyed, the buzzier effort may be an enveloping visual tour-de-force, but the one (wo)man-against-the-universe endurance saga in space lacks in character development and genuinely convincing emotional stakes. These are not, however, narrative areas that “Captain Phillips” is deficient in. In fact, its character and rich emotional layers are what elevates the film from a precisely-told absorbing thriller into something much more potent and powerful: a breathtakingly harrowing tale of survival and grueling desperation that redefines the term “nailbiter.”

Watch: Tom Hanks Gets Taken In 3 New Clips From 'Captain Phillips'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 4, 2013 11:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Captain Phillips
While "Gravity" is undoubtedly a gripping experience, there are some of us at The Playlist that might argue that Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" is just as harrowing, thrilling and nerve-wracking as Alfonso Cuaron's space spectacle. Either way, if you can make one of the advance screenings this Saturday we urge you to do so, but if not, the film opens next week and it's worth getting in line for.

Watch: Tom Hanks Locks Down The Bridge In 2 Tense Clips From 'Captain Phillips'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 1, 2013 2:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Breathtakingly harrowing, impossibly tense, white-knuckled, tremendous....in our New York Film Festival review of "Captain Phillips," we certainly weren't short of the superlatives for the latest thriller from Paul Greengrass. After some taut trailers the first real clip from the movie has arrived to back up some of what we've been saying about this one.

Watch: New Trailer For Paul Greengrass' Pulse-Pounding 'Captain Phillips' Starring Tom Hanks

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 30, 2013 9:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Captain Phillips,
As you're now slowly releasing the grip from your chair from last night's episode of "Breaking Bad," you better ready to hang on to something else as Paul Greengrass' thriller "Captain Phillips" is on the way. And another brand new trailer is here more than adequately selling the heart-stopping ride audiences will be going on.

The Assessment: Ron Howard's Directorial Career In 8 Movies

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 26, 2013 4:00 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Ron Howard, Assessment
Erstwhile star of the beacon of TV Americana that was “Happy Days,” occasional actor, and now Oscar-winning director and major Hollywood power player, Ron Howard is, by every account you can find the length and breadth of the World Wide Web, a really nice guy. Almost every interview starts with a reference to his niceness, his approachability, his affability, his talent for not taking himself too seriously. Which kind of makes it okay for us not to take him too seriously either.

Oscars: A Look At The Supporting Actor Field, Including Michael Fassbender, Jared Leto & James Gandolfini

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 23, 2013 2:32 PM
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  • 9 Comments
So far, for the most part, a good chunk of the 2013 awards contenders have been seen, but only by those high falutin' critical types at film festivals -- as we saw last week. But that started to change last week with the release of two legit Best Picture contenders: Ron Howard's "Rush," and Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners." So even those trying to stick their head in the sand and avoid Oscar season aren't going to have much of a choice from here on out.

New Pics & TV Spots For Paul Greengrass' Pirate Thriller 'Captain Phillips' Starring Tom Hanks

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 23, 2013 2:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Captain Phillips,
Whether or not Tom Hanks is nominated for his turn as Walt Disney in the warm "Saving Mr. Banks" or as the fearless leader of a cargo ship in "Captain Phillips," he seems destined for the Dolby Theater in a few months time. Of course the awards season has a long way to go but the already hotly buzzed Paul Greengrass movie is coming very soon and a batch of new images have dropped.

Watch: New Trailer For ABC's 'Toy Story OF TERROR!' Halloween Special

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 18, 2013 2:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
One of the highlights of the Disney Animation panel at this year's D23 Expo was getting a chance to watch the first ten minutes of the upcoming Halloween special "Toy Story of Terror" (sorry, that-scene-from-"Planes: Fire and Rescue"). Even though the footage was somewhat rough (and temped with music from "Ed Wood," which was actually kind of neat), it was totally compelling. Instead of being an anthology piece, like the recent "Shrek" Halloween special (and countless "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of "The Simpsons"), it assumes a single narrative thread, appropriating the "spooky motel" conceit of "Psycho" and "Vacancy," as an unseen malevolent force hunts hunt our toys after Bonnie's family stops at a roadside inn on a dark and stormy night. Now a new trailer has been released for the 30-minute-special, so you too can get spookily excited.

Early Buzz: Paul Greengrass' 'Captain Phillips' Is An Unbelievably Tense Real World Thriller; Politics Questionable

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 6, 2013 5:04 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Captain Phillips
"It's like the last half hour of 'Zero Dark Thirty' but for the whole movie." That was someone's description of "Captain Phillips" when we quizzed them about the film earlier today. The film, which stars Tom Hanks as the titular captain of the Maersk Alabama, a ship that found itself under siege by Somali pirates back in 2009, was directed by "United 93" and "Bourne Ultimatum" filmmaker Paul Greengrass, whose last feature, the troubled Matt Damon vehicle "Green Zone," proved an underwhelming and costly flop. But by all accounts from those who have seen it, "Captain Phillips" is the director back on his game, with a tense and enthralling real-life thriller. Although how successful it ultimately is seems to be up for grabs depending on how moved you are by it and how questionable you find the film's racial politics. Also, stick around to watch the new Japanese trailer for the film.

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