The Playlist

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.

Cameron Crowe Talks His Geiger Counter For Sentimentality In ‘We Bought A Zoo’; Confirms His Adaptation Of ‘Beautiful Boy’ Book

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • December 21, 2011 1:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
To paraphrase “The Dark Knight,” Cameron Crowe’s movies may not always be the ones we want, but they’re almost always the ones we need. Since his earliest days as a screenwriter, Crowe has always been a tireless optimist, crafting detailed, thoughtful and uncharacteristically earnest stories about people who prevail over cynicism through a combination of idealism and perseverance.

Interview: David Fincher Talks Violence, Unpleasant Revenge & The Odd, Perverse Relationship That Drew Him To 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'

  • By The Playlist
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  • December 21, 2011 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Filmmaker David Fincher’s brain works in such a way that it moves too fast for his own mouth. He’s constantly ping-ponging around in conversation to a point where he loses you and then you realize, like his beloved protagonist Lisbeth Salander, as played by Rooney Mara, he’s about five chess moves ahead of you and has been discussing four things at once.

My Favorite Films Of 2011: Christopher Bell

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • December 20, 2011 2:30 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Something that always bothered me about being a critic was that your feelings on whatever you're writing about suddenly get stuck in stone after pushing that glorious "Publish" icon.

The Playlist's Woman Of The Year 2011: Jessica Chastain

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 1:30 PM
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  • 10 Comments
To start things off, there was really only one choice for The Playlist's inaugural Woman of the Year 2011, an actress who was virtually unknown twelve months ago, but has appeared in no fewer than seven films that premiered at film festivals or went into wide release over the course of the year, without a real stinker in the bunch. Her roles ranged from an Israeli spy to an ethereal 1950s housewife, from a Texan FBI agent to a platinum-blonde bombshell forming an unlikely friendship with her maid (the latter a part that looks set to take her to the Oscars this year). Yes, it's Jessica Chastain. Who else?

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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  • 3 Comments
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.

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).

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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  • 1 Comment
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.

Steven Spielberg And His Cast On John Ford, Their Equine Co-Stars And Whether 'War Horse' Is A War Movie

  • By Jen Vineyard
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  • December 19, 2011 11:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Steven Spielberg shot "War Horse" during a break while his team of animators were working on "The Adventures of Tintin," but it's not a rush job -- the director took his time searching for cast members, sending his actors to boot camp to learn to ride, and waiting for the English weather to cooperate. At the press day and the film's premiere, Spielberg, screenwriter Richard Curtis, and the cast of "War Horse" revealed how they transformed the children's book and award-winning play into a film that has already garnered Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama and Best Score.

Marrakech Film Festival '11: Jessica Chastain On Cannes, Overcoming Shyness And Wanting Isabelle Huppert's Career

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 18, 2011 2:25 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Jessica Chastain has not had a normal year. Not so much breaking through as invading and colonizing multiplexes and arthouse theaters alike (we’ll have more on this in a special end-of-year piece coming soon), when we spoke to her during the Marrakech International Film Festival, she was nonetheless able to identify one defining experience amidst it all: the Cannes red carpet.

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