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The Playlist

There's More Than Just 'Ted': The Top 5 Animated Teddy Bears In Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 27, 2012 1:00 PM
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  • 3 Comments
With "Ted," Seth MacFarlane's tale of a grown man and his anthropomorphic, foul-mouthed teddy bear, opening this weekend (and for the most part proving to be foul-mouthed fun; look for our review very soon), we got to thinking about the childhood playthings of our (cinematic) past. Considering what a truly influential and fundamental part of childhood having a teddy bear is, it's kind of astounding that there aren't more memorable teddy bears on the big or small screen out there.
More: Features, Ted

The Essentials: 5 Key Nora Ephron Films

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 27, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 7 Comments
It's been touching to see the outpouring of love for Nora Ephron since the journalist, novelist, screenwriter and director passed away last night. Ephron's films have never really been particularly trendy; you're not going to find many hip young filmmakers naming her as an influence. But it's clear from the last twelve hours or so that there are few cinephiles that don't hold a few of her films close to their hearts. Ephron wasn't just the writer, and sometimes director, behind as string of classics, but she was also one of the most important women in the film industry across the last twenty years, and one of the most insightful writers of female characters that Hollywood has ever had.

The Crime Genre Is Still Alive & Original Says Writer/Director Michael Roskam Of The Oscar Nominated 'Bullhead'

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • June 26, 2012 2:50 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The crime film is ever evolving. As in all genres, however, plots and characters have been repeated and copied throughout the history of cinema in this ubiquitous mainstay, but it’s the gifted filmmaker that finds a new way to tell a familiar story. History tells us that European art house directors, or really any auteur from outside the States, have typically been the most adept at re-working tired formulas in the gangster milieu. With that in mind, we are currently experiencing something of a golden age in crime cinema.

Discuss: Where Has The Sense Of Fun Gone From Most Modern Blockbusters?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 26, 2012 1:25 PM
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  • 30 Comments
This past weekend, a film named "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" opened. And there were a number of surprising things about the movie: it wasn't an elaborate practical joke; it was greenlit with the expectation that people would want to see it and it seems the smart and capable cast and crew members didn't have anything better to do. But most surpising of all is the way in which a film with the words Abraham, Lincoln, Vampire and Hunter, in that order, in the title, is executed in such a relentlessly grim, humorless manner. Decades ago, it would have been the stuff of B-movies, and yet writer Seth Grahame-Smith and director Timur Bekmambetov play it almost entirely with a straight face.

On The Rise '12: 5 Cinematographers Lighting Up Screens In Recent Years

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 26, 2012 1:10 PM
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  • 22 Comments
Following our looks at actors, actresses, screenwriters and directors to watch in recent months, when the time came to put together a list of cinematographers (as we did two years ago), we went in with an open mind. But what was interesting is realizing, after the fact, that in an era where 35mm film is allegedly being phased out, that all five have done perhaps their most distinctive work on old-fashioned celluloid, rather than digital.

Jonathan Demme Discusses ‘Journeys’ & The Magic Of Neil Young

  • By Jeff Otto
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  • June 26, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Throughout most of his career, Jonathan Demme has been effortlessly bouncing between narrative and documentary filmmaking, the latter of which often revolves around music, starting with 1984’s groundbreaking concert film for Talking Heads, “Stop Making Sense.” Combining his filmmaking talents with his love for music, Demme sought not just to document concerts on film, but to create a cinematic experience around the music.

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • 5 Comments
June 25, 1982, was a good day for genre fans. Hell, that summer saw a spate of genre classics released, including "The Road Warrior," "Poltergeist," and "E.T." But June 25th in particular saw not only the release, as we discussed earlier today, of "Blade Runner," but also another legendary sci-fi picture, which like Ridley Scott's film, wasn't well-received at the time, and flopped at the box office, but went on to be enshrined in the geek hall of fame. No, it's not Barry Bostwyck vehicle "MegaForce," it was John Carpenter's terrifying "The Thing," which despite the efforts of last year's poor retread/prequel, remains one of the greatest sci-fi/horrors ever made.

The Playlist Podcast: Warner Bros.' 'Justice League' Plans, Marvel Rumors & The Post-'Avengers' Campaign

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • June 25, 2012 1:41 PM
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  • 13 Comments
In episode 2 of The Playlist podcast, host Erik McClanahan brings on staff writer Gabe Toro and Comptroller Rodrigo Perez for an extra geeky discussion about the planned "Justice League" movie that Warner Bros. is mounting and the future for the Marvel movie universe post-"The Avengers." We also talk a little bit about WB's DC plan as a whole, "Wonder Woman," and the Marvel chat is full of things we've been hearing over the last few months...

Wake Up, Time To Die: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Blade Runner'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 12:02 PM
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  • 7 Comments
One of the many reasons "Prometheus" was eagerly anticipated by so many was the director's track record in the sci-fi genre. Ridley Scott had only made two science fiction pictures before this year's blockbuster, and both are considered classics (and arguably his best two films). The first was 1979's "Alien," the direct inspiration for "Prometheus." And the second? 1982's "Blade Runner," the noirish mystery, and adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep," which has been one of the most talked about and influential science fiction films of all time, particularly in terms of its grim look at Los Angeles in 2019.

5 Underseen Apocalypse Movies To Accompany 'Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 22, 2012 1:12 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Apocalypse is an ever-popular idea in cinema. After all, what could be more dramatic than the possibility -- or even the actuality -- of the end of everyone and everything that you've ever known. It's an all purpose metaphor, and can be used to tell all kinds of stories, in all kinds of tones, as this week's comedy-drama "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World," which sees Steve Carell and Keira Knightley brought together by the impending end of civilization.
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