The Playlist

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.

5 Things You Might Not Know About David Lean's 'Lawrence Of Arabia'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 18, 2012 3:12 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Is there a greater film than "Lawrence of Arabia?" Perhaps. There are certainly few longer ones, or few that are more epic and sweeping in their scope (thanks to the timeless Panavision 70 photography by Freddie Young). But even if the film isn't your absolute favorite, it is the number one of many, including Steven Spielberg, who credits the picture with making him want to be a filmmaker.

The 10 Best Dennis Hopper Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 17, 2012 1:45 PM
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  • 9 Comments
It's almost two years since the passing of one of cinema's true wild men, Dennis Hopper. The actor, writer and director was a maverick titan of cinema, a man who starred in some of the most pictures of American cinema, from "Rebel Without A Cause" to "Blue Velvet," while also writing and directing a film that arguably changed the movies forever, "Easy Rider," while maintaining a personal life that was decidedly colorful (for full details, read Peter Biskind's modern classic "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls."

Nicole Holofcener, Shari Springer Berman & Lisa Cholodenko Talk Future Projects & Being Female Directors In The Film Industry

  • By Jen Vineyard
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  • May 17, 2012 1:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Nicole Holofcener and Shari Springer Berman might make very different kinds of films, but they have at least one thing in common -- they both hate being in front of the camera. "If I wanted to be in front of the camera ..." Springer Berman started as Holofcener finished her thought for her, "you'd be Lena Dunham." "I didn't even want to take photos at my wedding," Springer Berman confessed. "I hate being photographed."

On The Rise 2012: 10 Directors Who Look To Be Bright Sparks Of The Future

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 15, 2012 2:33 PM
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  • 14 Comments
Like it or not, filmmaking is undeniably a director's medium. It wasn't always like that, of course: it was only the coming of the auteur theory in the 1950s and 1960s that popularized the idea of the director as the person responsible for all that was great and terrible about a picture. And while anyone who's worked in film knows that it's a collaborative medium, there's still no better way of seeing where the form might be going in the next few years than by looking at the directors who've been making splashes of late.

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Milius' 'Conan The Barbarian'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 14, 2012 11:20 AM
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  • 4 Comments
These days, after "Lord of the Rings" and "Game Of Thrones," fantasy isn't just big business, but it can also be an critically acclaimed awards favorite, picking up Oscars and Emmys by the handful. As such, it's easy to forget that prior to the 1980s, the genre barely existed on screen, with animated takes on Tolkein's works the only really significant pictures in the genre. But in 1977, "Star Wars," a film that owed as much to high fantasy as to science-fiction, became the biggest hit in history, and that opened the door to all kinds of new fantasy worlds.

Reacting To 'Twilight,' Potential Sequels & More From The Press Tour For Tim Burton & Johnny Depp's 'Dark Shadows'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 11, 2012 2:07 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Whether you end up loving it or hating it (as our reviewer did), one has to admit that there are few films like "Dark Shadows" in theaters this summer. Based on the popular 1960s/1970s ABC soap that included vampires, werewolves and witches, the film is a curious blend of comedy, drama and horror that's indelibly a Tim Burton creation.

10 Unmade Tim Burton Films: From 'After Hours' To 'Superman Lives' & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 11, 2012 1:00 PM
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  • 6 Comments
It's curious that a director as idiosyncratic and... well, just plain weird as Tim Burton has become one of Hollywood's A-listers. But from 1989's "Batman" to 2010's billion-dollar grossing "Alice in Wonderland," the helmer's managed to turn his dark, gothic imagination into something that genuinely captures the hearts and minds of the general public. Indeed, films like "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and the upcoming "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which are produced by Burton, show that he, like Alfred Hitchcock before him, has become one of the few directors who's become a true brand name: if they see his name involved with a project, an audience know what to expect, whether he directed it or not.

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