The Playlist

5 Things You Might Not Know About Ridley Scott's 'Alien'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 25, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 5 Comments
The success of "Star Wars" changed everything. While "2001" had been a giant hit a decade ago, most put it down to a fluke, but George Lucas' film suddenly proved that science fiction wasn't just for B-movies, but could be a licence to print money. Every studio in town were chasing the genre, but 20th Century Fox, who had distributed "Star Wars" had a head-start: they already had another space-set script in development, "Alien," by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Walter Hill and David Giler. They swiftly attached new helmer Ridley Scott to the project, and production got underway in the summer of 1978.

Cannes: Andrew Dominik On The Violence, Politics & Look Of 'Killing Them Softly' With Brad Pitt

  • By Aaron Hillis
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  • May 24, 2012 2:19 PM
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  • 2 Comments
In what turned out to be a banner year for the movies, "The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" ended up somewhat overshadowed. As fellow neo-Westerns "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men" swept up plaudits and Oscars, the picture, the second by Australian director Andrew Dominik, received some raves, but plenty of negative notices too, and it ended up making a miniscule amount at the box office. But by decade's end, many had since rediscovered the picture as one of the finest of the 00s, and as such, Dominik's first film since, crime tale "Killing Them Softly," was one of the most eagerly anticipated pictures of the Cannes film festival this year.

'Lawless' Director John Hillcoat: The American Film Landscape Is “Tough”; Television Is The New Medium For “Character & Drama”

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • May 24, 2012 11:06 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Australian filmmaker John Hillcoat has steadily built upon his career as an auteur known for brooding and unnerving pieces of work ever since his neo-western “The Proposition” started making the rounds in 2005. The picture offered viewers a refreshing take on the western genre, and a haunting tale of a crooked lawman who apprehends a notorious outlaw and gives him just nine days to take the life his older sibling or see his youngest brother executed.

“Sentimentality & Brute Violence”: Nick Cave Says The Love Story & Excessive Violence Of 'Lawless' “Titillate Me”

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • May 23, 2012 5:47 PM
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  • 6 Comments
While many still know Nick Cave best for his work as a musician in groups like The Birthday Party, and especially for albums such as Let Love In and Tender Prey that he produced along with his band The Bad Seeds, Cave has become increasingly more visible in the world of cinema ever since he first started collaborating with filmmaker John Hillcoat on the helmer’s 1988 feature “Ghosts…of the Civil Undead.”

Cannes: 'Killing Them Softly' Helmer Andrew Dominik Talks Music As Film: 'Jesse James' Was My Leonard Cohen Song, 'Killing Them Softly' Is A Pop Tune

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • May 23, 2012 3:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A film that probably needs no introduction at this point, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” filmmaker Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly” has been setting the Croisette ablaze with high praises coming from all around, including our own reviewer who called it “brilliant and angry,” and most notably “the anti-thriller for our times.”

The Playlist Interview From Cannes: Wes Anderson Discusses The Nostalgia, Music, & Making Of 'Moonrise Kingdom'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 23, 2012 12:31 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Few filmmakers have a more distinctive take on the world than Wes Anderson. Many of his contemporaries -- David O Russell, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze et al -- are extraordinary filmmakers, but it's only with Anderson that you can look at a single frame -- any frame -- and instantly know that it's his. And the same is true of his latest, "Moonrise Kingdom," which marks his return to live-action filmmaking for the first time in five years.

Cannes: Michel Gondry Talks The Inspirations Behind 'The We And The I,' & Talks Criterion Appearance On 'Malkovich'

  • By The Playlist
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  • May 22, 2012 4:35 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Perhaps once regarded as a quirky, whimsical visualist known for his eye-popping music videos (Bjork, Beck, White Stripes) and his often pop-surrealist indie films ("Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind," "The Science of Sleep"), French filmmaker Michel Gondry has really challenged the boilerplate concept of who he is as an artist in recent years. He's taken on a tentpole super-hero film ("The Green Hornet" starring Seth Rogen), made a stylistically unadorned and deeply personal, yet unsentimental documentary about his aunt ("The Thorn In The Side") and another superficially quirky mainstream comedy that's actually quite the sincere and tribute to the joys of community ("Be Kind Rewind").

As 'Battleship' Flops: Ten Other Memorable Box-Office Bombs

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 21, 2012 1:43 PM
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  • 25 Comments
To have one giant money-losing tentpole is unfortunate. To have two starts to look careless, and that's what's happened to Taylor Kitsch. The actor, who broke out on TV's "Friday Night Lights," was seen as Hollywood's next great hope, picked out to star in two great big blockbusters with a combined cost of half-a-billion dollars. But when "John Carter" arrived in March, the film wildly underperformed, with Disney taking a hit of at least $100 million on the project. And after this weekend, it looks that his other film, "Battleship," is going to lose similar amounts.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Empire Strikes Back'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 21, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 6 Comments
After thirty years, three terrible prequels and acres of spin-off material, the "Star Wars" brand has been somewhat tarnished. The fans are still legion, but it's become harder and harder to get excited about the series, and the highlights drift further and further from memory. That being said, we'll always have a place for the original trilogy in our hearts, and much of that comes down to the second (or fifth) installment, 1980's "The Empire Strikes Back" Despite the success of the original, creator George Lucas seemed to have taken some of the criticism to heart and took a back seat for the follow-up, handing over the directorial reins to his old film school professor Irvin Kershner ("The Eyes of Laura Mars," "The Flim-Flam Man") and hiring veteran screenwriter Leigh Brackett and bright young thing Lawrence Kasdan, who'd come to fame thanks to his as-yet-unmade scripts for "The Bodyguard" and "Continental Divide."

Dustin Lance Black Talks Re-Editing & Taking A Second Stab At His Directorial Debut 'Virginia'

  • By Jen Vineyard
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  • May 18, 2012 4:40 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Dustin Lance Black had a rude awakening with his directorial debut "What's Wrong with Virginia?" when it first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010 -- critics hated it, including The Playlist. Even though he'd won an Academy Award for his screenplay of "Milk," Black discovered that the goodwill from his Oscar acceptance speech only went so far. But if it had been up to him, he wouldn't have shown the film before he was confident with what he had shot.

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