The Playlist

Best And Worst Of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • April 7, 2014 12:01 PM
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  • 29 Comments
Captain America 2, Best/Worst
This past Friday, after opening worldwide a few weeks earlier and performing like gangbusters, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the ninth Marvel Studios movie to date, arrived in the U.S., and swiftly proceeded to be the biggest opening of 2014 to date, smashing April records with a hefty $96 million weekend. That's a big step up for the second adventure to topline Chris Evans' super-soldier Steve Rogers to date, no doubt helped by very positive reaction from fans and critics alike.

Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 3, 2014 4:00 PM
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  • 148 Comments
Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked
Even by the ambitious standards of Marvel, 2014 is going to be a big year. They've got this weekend’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (review here) and hopeful franchise-starter “Guardians of the Galaxy,” while rival studios have the forthcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (at Fox) and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (at Sony). No matter who is bringing them to the screen, Marvel has become a blockbuster brand, underscored by “The Avengers” scoring the third-highest-grossing-film of all time.

Ranked: Jonathan Glazer's Music Videos

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • April 3, 2014 1:09 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Ranked: Jonathan Glazer's Music Videos
As part of our continuing efforts to make everyone in the world go see "Under the Skin," which opens this Friday, earlier in the week we featured a rundown of director Jonathan Glazer's top ten commercials. But, advertising is not the only string to his bow (though no doubt the most lucrative), Glazer is also a well-known music video director, who, while not quite as prolific in this area, still boasts more than a couple of touchstones in his short videography. What's also notable about his promos is that within them, like with his commercial work, you can trace the evolution of the stylistic elements that Glazer would bring to his features, from the crisp lines and bold colors of the poolside terrace in "Sexy Beast," to the somber, chilly palette of "Birth," to the imagery of "Under the Skin" that ranges from gritty to sleek to surreal. It's a treat to watch a director as visually confident as Glazer work in a longer format, but it's also a treat to look through his back catalogue to see that confidence grow and mature.

'The Matrix' Anniversary: 7 Pre-Bullet Time VFX Effects That Blew Our Minds

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • April 3, 2014 12:07 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Matrix CG feature
15 years ago this week, a pair of siblings with only a modest cult indie movie under their belt, to that point, released a film you might have heard of: “The Matrix," a heady and immediately classic mashup of sci-fi, cyberpunk, Baudrillardian philosophy (or a distortion thereof) and anime, all wrapped up in an immensely compelling Messiah-myth story. On a macro level, the Wachowskis' film was such a successful fusion of all its various influences that it felt like something new, raked in just shy of half a billion dollars worldwide, and spawned a franchise (which we won’t talk about any further here for fear of spoiling the celebratory atmosphere). But on a micro level “The Matrix” was revolutionary too, delivering, in amongst some terrifically stylish set and costume design and spectacular action setpieces, one of the most jaw-dropping effects we’d ever seen to that point in a film: Bullet Time.

Director’s Cut: 10 Theatrical Versions Vs. The Filmmaker's Final Vision

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • April 2, 2014 2:55 PM
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  • 49 Comments
Directors Cut Feature
Blessed/cursed with one of the most confusing and prolonged release strategies in recent memory, (blessed in that it has kept the movie in the conversation longer; cursed because that’s longer for everyone to get bored and irritated with it too) the second part of Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac” opens in the U.S. this weekend (our ‘Vol II’ review is here). Our stock of sex puns may have been well and truly plundered (note how we couldn’t even bring ourselves to say “this coming weekend”) but that’s still not the end of it, as ‘Vol II’ also has a director’s cut on the way (the director’s preferred version of ‘Vol I’ played Berlin some weeks after the theatrical cut had already opened).

April Fools: The 10 Best Movie Idiots

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 1, 2014 3:00 PM
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  • 9 Comments
The 10 Best Movie Idiots
Inspired in part by the Roman festival of Hilaria and the medieval Feast Of Fools, the first of the fourth month brings April Fool’s Day, a celebration of jokes, pranks and hoaxes around the world. It probably hasn’t escaped your attention, thanks to the prevalence of weak LOLs, thin hoaxes, and people complaining about the weak LOLs and thin hoaxes on social media.

10 Movies To See In April

  • By Kristen Lopez
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  • April 1, 2014 11:08 AM
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  • 4 Comments
10 Movies To See In April
We’re inching ever close to the 2014 summer blockbuster season, but that’s not to say April is lacking its fair share of spectacle and bombast. This month’s ten movies to see ranges from Marvel’s latest to a mess of independent fare moving away from the festivals and into your local multiplex. It’s time to see what’s worth plunking down your dollars and cents for this month at the movies.

Director Jonathan Glazer: His 10 Best Commercials

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • March 31, 2014 2:22 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Jonathan Glazer  10 Best Commercials
So it feels like a long time that we’ve been talking, (and sighing and gasping and puzzling) about “Under the Skin,” which finally arrives for your viewing (and sighing and gasping and puzzling) pleasure this weekend. Only the third feature from director Jonathan Glazer, after the feted “Sexy Beast” and the hugely underrated “Birth,” we first reviewed it (warmly) out of Telluride, and then our man in Venice was so taken with it that we listed a further 5 reasons to put it at the top of your to-see list.

Ranking The 20 Greatest, Most Celebrated Long Takes

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • March 27, 2014 2:39 PM
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  • 89 Comments
Long Takes
This weekend, “The Raid 2” opens, in all its chop-socky glory, in limited release and will expand in the weeks to come. Continuing on from the original “The Raid,” though by all accounts (ours included) creating fight scenes even more fluid and flabbergasting than its predecessor (which was pretty much all one fight scene), it employs many takes of above-average length to give an extra edge of realism and dynamism to the old ultra-violence. This approach characterized Gareth Evans' shooting style last time out too and still feels like a refreshing counterpoint to the hyper-kinetic Michael Bay school of editing, which often feels like it’s hiding as much as it’s showing.

12 Indie Directors Who Jumped To Blockbuster Budgets

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 26, 2014 2:24 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Noah, Russell Crowe, Aronofsky
This week sees the release of “Noah,” and it’s notable for a number of reasons. For one, it’s that it’s a relatively rare Biblical movie not aimed principally at religious audiences (which may or may not pay off). For another, it’s the latest film from “Requiem For A Dream” and “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky. But perhaps more than anything else, it’s a movie that costs $125 million, almost four times as much as the director’s most expensive previous film, “The Fountain,” the helmer having been given the keys to Paramount’s war chest after the surprise smash success of “Black Swan,” which made nearly $300 million worldwide.

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