The Playlist

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.

The 25 Greatest Movies Never Made

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • March 25, 2014 3:52 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Jodorowsky's Dune Poster
The grass is always greener on the other side. We always covet what we can never attain. Last week, Sony Pictures Classics' must-see documentary “Jodorowsky's Dune” opened in limited release; director Frank Pavich's funny, affectionate tale of Alejandro Jodorowsky's doomed attempt at adapting Frank Herbert's indispensable sci-fi classic for the big screen (our review). So ambitious and grand—legends like Pink Floyd, Mick Jagger, H.R. Giger, Mœbius, VFX wizard Dan O'Bannon, Salvador Dali and Orson Welles were some of the names mooted to be involved—perhaps Jodorowsky’s version was so insane it never could have really happened, or perhaps if it had, it would have been a epic fail (indeed David Lynch's version, which would eventually bring the story to the big screen in 1984, was one of that visionary director's biggest stumbles, even according to Lynch himself).

My Life In 10 Movies: Daniel Carbone, The Director Of 'Hide Your Smiling Faces'

  • By Edward Davis
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  • March 25, 2014 2:07 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Hide Your Smiling Faces
While the technical accomplishments and formal influences on a director's work can be fascinating, sometimes the clearest understanding to their approach on cinema comes not from a checklist of inspirations, but a journey though their relationship with the medium. For example, knowing that Terrence Malick is a fan of Ben Stiller's "Zoolander" creates a much more complex portrait of the reclusive filmmaker that his own body of work may reflect. And so, in our ongoing semi-regular feature (kicked off by Terry Gilliam), we sat down with Daniel Carbone of the upcoming "Hide Your Smiling Faces" to talk about the movie touchstones in his life.

The 6 Best Performances In The Films Of Darren Aronofsky

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • March 24, 2014 3:06 PM
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  • 11 Comments
There are few filmmakers whose work is as instantly recognizable as Darren Aronofsky's. His subject matter has differed wildly, from Kabbalistic mathematical conspiracies to drug addiction to high-class ballet to Biblical apocalypse in this weekend's "Noah." But his heart-on-its-sleeve, unsubtle (that's not a knock, necessarily), highly cinematic, uniquely stylized films couldn't possibly be mistaken for anyone else's, even as their content proves ever-surprising.

"DVD Is the New Vinyl" Podcast: Featuring Tilda Swinton, Alessandro Nivola & Lili Taylor

  • By Aaron Hillis
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  • March 21, 2014 1:45 PM
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  • 6 Comments
"DVD Is the New Vinyl" Podcast: Featuring Tilda Swinton, Alessandro Nivola, Lili Taylor
While recuperating from a deep-fried, ever-boozy, never-sleepy nine days at the SXSW Film Festival (a shout-out here to senior programmer Jarod Neece, whose delicious book "Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day" resolved at least two hangovers), your indefatigable DVD guru still managed to power through a month's worth of new discs. Two of this month's highlights, as noted in the "10 Worth a Spin" intro, were SXSW 2013 premieres, which goes to show that there's still life to be found for festival indies beyond traditional theatrical or VOD distribution. One question, though: how does anyone in Austin get their DVDs to play without smudging them up from greasy burrito fingers?

21 Movies About Weird, Kinky Or Compulsive Sex

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • March 20, 2014 3:00 PM
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  • 24 Comments
Films About Weird, Kinky or Compulsive Sex
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Lars Von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac,” Volume 1 of which opens in the US this weekend (our review is here) is not Shia LaBeouf’s accent, it's that it’s a film that is totally, unashamedly, unavoidably about sex. While coitus, rumpy, intercourse, balling, humping, beast-with-two-back-making does feature in some shape or form with extreme frequency in cinema, it only rarely forms the central, wait for it, thrust of the story, likely partly because distributors (especially in the U.S.) are often accused of a streak of puritanism when it comes to sex, particularly when compared to the their much more carefree attitude toward violence, and partly because even today mainstream audiences can be put off by even a whiff of the smutty-old-man-in-a-dirty-mac connotation. Which means that furthermore, films like “Nymphomaniac” that delve into the darker recesses of human sexuality--power play, taboo fantasies and fetishes, BDSM, sex addiction, etc--are even fewer.

15 Underseen And Overlooked Dystopian Futures In Film

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 19, 2014 1:19 PM
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  • 18 Comments
15 Underseen Sci-Fi Dystopian Films
It's not easy creating a dystopian future on film. Ask the producers of "Divergent," which opens this week (read our review). Not only do they need to establish a demented future where we live under draconian rules, but they must do so over multiple films. Given that there are several different elements to this type of future, from corrupt governments to alien intervention to dizzying technology, it can be like mapmaking in an uncharted area. Sooner or later, you get lost and can't circle back.

Blessed Are The Forgetful: Remembering ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’ On Its 10th Anniversary

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 18, 2014 3:33 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind
It’s 2008. April-ish. Manchester. My girlfriend of 18 months and I have just broken up. The first really serious, vaguely grown-up relationship, the one that makes you understand why people put themselves through all of that stuff. It's been on its way for a while, but the plug was finally pulled in a phone call, one that we both cry our way through. Eventually, we hang up. I could get on with this new life, or I could drink myself into warm, nauseous oblivion until I don’t feel the absence anymore. Behind me, on the wall (tatty, faded, and with the top-left corner hanging off, because I haven’t yet taken that step into the crucial and significant part of adulthood where you stop using Blu-Tack and start framing your shit), is a poster for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

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