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The Playlist

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.

The Essentials: Tim Burton's 5 Best Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 10, 2012 3:10 PM
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  • 35 Comments
Tomorrow sees "Dark Shadows" will hit theaters, the latest gothic entertainment from director Tim Burton and his muse Johnny Depp. And, as per our review, and many others, it's sadly an another disappointment, another wonderful-looking, empty picture that seems to have been derived from the filmmaker and his star taking on the kind of picture that's expected of them, rather than something to push or challenge them.

The Playlist's 15 Most Anticipated Films Of The Cannes Film Festival

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 9, 2012 1:13 PM
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  • 15 Comments
A week from today, the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival will be getting underway on the south coast of France, opening with Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," and as ever, it's possibly the biggest date in the cinephile calendar, with a host of hotly-anticipated films set to premiere over the ten days that follow. A jury headed up by Nanni Moretti, and also including Andrea Arnold, Ewan McGregor, Alexander Payne, Diane Kruger and Jean-Paul Gaultier will have to decide which of over twenty films to award the Palme d'Or to, but while the competition will be typically fierce in competition, there's plenty of gems to find in the Directors' Fortnight, Un Certain Regard and Critics' Week sidebars too.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece 'Vertigo'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 9, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Voting is currently underway on the Sight & Sound poll for the greatest film ever made, which takes place every ten years, and is generally seen as one of the most definitive of such polls. And one film that's near-certain to place in the top ten, given that it's been there in every poll since 1982 (and placed second in 2002) is Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." The film was relatively poorly received on release, and indeed, remained unseen for twenty years, one of the five films that Hitchcock bought back the rights for to leave to his daughter (the so-called Five Lost Hitchcocks, which also include "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Rear Window," "Rope" and "The Trouble With Harry"). But since its re-release in 1984, the film has grown into the great director's most acclaimed masterpiece, and is now one of the most examined, deconstructed and written about films in the history of the medium.

Discuss: Does The R-Rating For 'Prometheus' Mean The Film Is Doomed At The Box Office?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 8, 2012 12:46 PM
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  • 21 Comments
The hopes and prayers of sci-fi geeks and cinephiles were answered yesterday as news officially came in that Ridley Scott's semi-"Alien" prequel "Prometheus" had landed an R-rating, as all four "Alien" movies did before it. The director had been non-committal about what rating he was shooting for, and even notoriously interference-happy studio boss Tom Rothman, in a sign of the new filmmaker-friendly side of 20th Century Fox, had promised that the film would "not be compromised," regardless of what rating it received. And so it came to pass: the MPAA have given it an R for "sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language," and it'll be released without a frame cut.

What Next For Joss Whedon, Marvel & Hollywood After The Mammoth Success Of 'The Avengers'?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 7, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Most people thought "The Avengers" would make money. The five official Marvel movies to date, from 2008's "Iron Man" to last year's "Captain America" had, after all, made over $2.2 billion worldwide. But most figured that, given that the film followed on to four franchises simultaneously, that there would be a cap on it: surely if "Iron Man 2" made $600 million worldwide, that was the ceiling for the film's grosses? But thanks to sterling reviews, phenomenal word of mouth, and a strong marketing campaign, the film has already made that sum in less than two weeks of international release, topping it off with a record-breaking U.S. opening weekend of $200 million, $50 million ahead of estimates, and $30 million more than the previous record holder, last year's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2"

Puny God: What Worked & What Didn't In 'The Avengers'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 7, 2012 10:57 AM
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  • 92 Comments
Given that it made a record-breaking $200 million over the weekend, and has made two-thirds of a billion dollars worldwide in just over ten days, it seems safe to assume that you've seen "The Avengers" by now. And given that the film received a rarer-than-unicorns A+ CinemaScore from audiences, we assume that you enjoyed it. And rightly so. Not one, but two of our reviews agree that it's one of the best comic book movies to date, and one of the more satisfying summer blockbusters in many moons.

Joss Whedon's Batman, How Black Widow Nearly Got The Axe & 15 More Revelations From 'The Avengers' Press Tour

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 4, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
If it's somehow escaped your notice, "The Avengers" is in theaters today. One of the biggest gambles in blockbuster history, it looks to have paid off: the reviews have been hugely positive, it's already closing on $300 million from the international box office, and stands to break records over this weekend in the U.S. too.

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