The Playlist

2011: The Year The Big Projects Died & Studios Discovered (A Little) Fiscal Responsibility

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 28, 2011 12:39 PM
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  • 4 Comments
The giant financial crisis that began in 2008 is probably the single event that's had the most wide-reaching ramifications since 9/11, but, as ever, it's taken a few years for the film industry to reflect that, bar the occasional handy coincidence, like "Up in the Air." For the most part, 2011 was the year in which cinematic storytellers began to deal with the mess, from surprise hit "Margin Call" and HBO drama "Too Big To Fail" to the barely-able-to-make-rent lead in "Bridesmaids" and New Depression-era setting of "Real Steel." Even "Tower Heist," dealt with financial inequity and films like "Warrior" dealt with character struggling to make due.

Director Dee Rees And Star Adepero Oduye Talk Coming Out & Coming Of Age In 'Pariah'

  • By Alison Willmore
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  • December 27, 2011 10:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Director Dee Rees and actress Adepero Oduye were fresh off an early awards season win when The Playlist caught up with them in New York. Their film "Pariah" nabbed Rees the prize for breakthrough director at the Gotham Awards the night before -- not the first triumph for the assured feature debut, which was lauded with the Cinematography Award at Sundance in January, and probably not the last, though Rees is zen about the process, saying "Our statement's on the screen. Awards won't make it better, and a lack of awards won't make it worse."

Bored Over Christmas? Here's Every Feature The Playlist Ran In 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 24, 2011 10:00 AM
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  • 9 Comments
The bulk of our time might be spent dealing with news on what's coming up, or reviews on what's just about to arrive, but we're not all about the future here at The Playlist. Once a week or so, we try to take an in-depth look at films gone by. Sometimes it's the work of an actor or a director, living or dead, retired or in the peak of their powers. Sometimes it's a particular genre. Sometimes it's whatever takes our fancy.

The Films Of Steven Spielberg, Part Two: The Serious Fare

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 23, 2011 12:00 PM
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  • 8 Comments
It's the classic dilemma of the entertainer, perhaps best embodied in Preston Sturges' "Sullivan's Travels." After a decade or so of delighting audiences with thrills and wonder, Steven Spielberg decided he wanted to be taken seriously.

The Playlist's Man Of The Year 2011: Michael Fassbender

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 22, 2011 3:12 PM
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  • 22 Comments
A couple of days ago, as part of our year-end coverage, we named Jessica Chastain as our Woman of the Year, and it was an easy decision to make; no one's been as omnipresent, or given as many different, and excellent, turns, as Chastain did. But our man of the year was slightly more difficult. Should it be Matt Damon, who cropped up in five major releases, including Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion?" Hmm... no. Damon's "Happy Feet Two" shrimp partner Brad Pitt, who fought to get both "The Tree of Life" and "Moneyball" made, to tremendous results? No. Ryan Gosling, who embraced stardom at long last with a trio of performances in "Crazy Stupid Love," "Drive" and "The Ides of March?" George Clooney, who directed the latter and starred in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants?" No.

David Fincher Talks His Approach For The Opening Credit Sequence For 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 22, 2011 12:02 PM
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  • 7 Comments
It feels like only yesterday we were talking about the back-and-forths on casting, but at long last, David Fincher's take on best-selling Swedish crime novel "The GIrl With The Dragon Tattoo," the first of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy, is in theaters.

Book Review: 'The Hammer Vault' Is A Historically Rich Treasure Trove

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 21, 2011 6:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment
When we reviewed the poster collection "The Art Of Hammer," an overview of the great British studio Hammer Films, we marveled over each slickly reproduced page. And while the experience was lovely (and lasted well beyond our time looking over and reviewing the book, it was about as superficial an experience as you could get.

Gabe Toro's Best Films Of 2011

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 21, 2011 3:30 PM
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  • 55 Comments
Great art challenges. Bad art flatters. But those of us who don’t dedicate our lives to film don’t always seek to be challenged. Sometimes we want to experience art at our leisure. One doesn’t schedule, or plan the impact of art (making a film review deceptive, as it can never be a critics’ final thoughts).

Stellan Skarsgård On David Fincher, Lars Von Trier And Channeling Hugh Grant In A Rape Scene

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 21, 2011 3:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
You certainly can’t accuse Stellan Skarsgård of lacking a work ethic. A regular on screens big and small in his native Sweden from the time he was a teenager, since his breakout international role in 1996’s “Breaking the Waves” he has averaged anywhere from three to eight films per year, mixing Swedish-language fare with blockbusters, voiceover work and TV appearances, to amass a fairly epic filmography.

The Films Of Steven Spielberg, Part One: The Spectacle

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 21, 2011 2:00 PM
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  • 17 Comments
It seems somewhat appropriate that the week that sees Steven Spielberg celebrate his 65th birthday (which was on Monday) also sees the release of two new films from the director, arguably the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous, filmmakers of all time. The director has always been something of a workhorse, with 29 feature films across a 40-year career (that's one every eighteen months, more or less), all without mentioning his early TV credits, his countless producing credits and even helping to run an entire studio.

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