The Playlist

As 'Junebug' Helmer Phil Morrison Announces A New Project, Where Have These 5 Long-Absent Indie Directors Been?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 10, 2012 2:21 PM
  • |
  • 12 Comments
We were just having a conversation around The Playlist's office pinball machine this week ("Ghostbusters 2"-branded, in case you were wondering) about whatever happened to director Phil Morrison, who helmed the excellent "Junebug" back in 2006 (launching the career of Amy Adams in the process) only to seemingly disappear from the scene, with only a recent credit on HBO's "Enlightened" to his name. And then, barely 24 hours later, the news arrived that Morrison was back, with the comedy "Lucky Dog," which will star Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti and Sally Hawkins.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Denzel Washington Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 10, 2012 12:58 PM
  • |
  • 17 Comments
Sometimes, winning an Oscar seems to change things for an actor. Look at Al Pacino, who's barely taken anything worth his time since he won for "Scent of a Woman" in 1992, or Kevin Spacey, who starred in a string of dull would-be-heartwarmers after picking up his gold for "American Beauty." And you could argue the same for Denzel Washington. He's irrefutably one of the most charismatic screen presences around, with even more gravitas than ever before as he closes on his 60s. But since he won Best Actor from the Academy for "Training Day," his film roles seem to have been a variation on a theme; thrillers that sometimes work, sometimes don't, but rarely leave you reeling the way his best work does, with his real energy seemingly reserved for directing work or stage performances like "Julius Caesar" and "Fences" (the latter of which won him a Tony).

Oren Moverman Talks Taking A Paranoid Woody Harrelson To Dark Places For The Searing Police Drama 'Rampart'

  • By Jen Vineyard
  • |
  • February 10, 2012 11:57 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Oren Moverman's directorial debut, 2009's "The Messenger," nabbed two Oscar nominations -- for Best Original Screenplay, and for Woody Harrelson as Best Supporting Actor. Moverman and Harrelson's critically-acclaimed follow-up "Rampart" seemed to be on the path for a repeat performance, especially given the actor's harrowing portrayal of a corrupt police officer on a downward spiral of paranoia and self-destructive behavior -- but was snubbed by the Academy this time around -- not one Oscar nod. "Who knows how these things work?" Moverman asked The Playlist. "I'm not disappointed though. You know what would disappoint me? If people don't go see the movie. That would really disappoint me, because we want people to see it, to talk about it, to get something from it, to interact with the movie, if you will." To aid that interaction, then, Moverman shared some insights about the making of "Rampart" that might get those conversations going.

5 Songs That Should've Been Nominated For An Oscar & Would Have Made The Live Show More Fun

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 8, 2012 12:57 PM
  • |
  • 19 Comments
Never exactly the finest hour of the Oscars, the Best Original Song category of the Academy Awards this year has been something of a fiasco. First it was nominations with only two tracks -- "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" and "Real In Rio" from the animated film "Rio" -- making the cut. Then, at the start of this week, Deadline broke the news that neither song would be performed as part of the Oscar telecast, seemingly in the ever-vain hope of keeping the running time of the ceremony under three hours, despite protestations from those behind the two films, and many others.

Ben Drew (AKA Plan B) Talks About His Feature Directorial Debut 'Ill Manors' & Starring Alongside Ray Winstone In 'The Sweeney'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 7, 2012 10:01 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
'Polymath' is a word that describes Ben Drew pretty well. The 29 year old East London native first came to fame back in 2005 under the name Plan B, where his work on influential mixtape "Run The Road" landed him a contract with 679 Records, and his album "Who Needs Action When You Got Words," landed the following year too all kinds of acclaim.

As Mel Gibson's Latest Film Goes Straight To VOD, Is This A Glimpse Of The Future Of Distribution?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 3, 2012 4:46 PM
  • |
  • 11 Comments
Something curious happened this week. It was announced that an action film from someone who has historically been one of Hollywood's biggest stars would be skipping movie theaters. That's not unprecedented, or necessarily surprising, considering that the star in question is disgraced A-lister Mel Gibson , who's been in the doghouse since his well publicized racist, abusive rants leaked two years ago. And doubly unsurprising considering that Gibson's last film, the Jodie Foster-directed drama "The Beaver" never made it over the million dollar mark at the domestic box office.

Why 'Chronicle' Is A Step In The Right Direction (Again) For Hollywood Genre Pics & Tentpoles-In-The-Making

  • By Edward Davis
  • |
  • February 3, 2012 4:26 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
Let's not get it twisted, Josh Trank's "Chronicle," is neither superhero film, tentpole nor masterpiece. However, it is a model that will soon be adapted by studio tentpole minded projects across the board, even if it's not completely successful at the box-office (read our review here). For those that haven't seen the film yet, don't worry, no major spoilers ahead. We'll discuss the film in broad terms, but much of this is evident from the trailers.

Bloodbath: Which Films Risk Being The Blockbuster Casualties Of 2012?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • February 2, 2012 4:09 PM
  • |
  • 24 Comments
Almost eighteen months ago, actor-turned-filmmaker Jon Favreau predicted that the summer of 2011 was "...going to be a bloodbath. There's never been a summer like this next summer. It's going to be bloody...There's not a weekend where there won't be teeth on the floor. The audience wins, but it's going to be rough for people making these movies. Then there was the big rush to 3D, so you have all of these people fighting for a limited number of screens and to get the 3D done, since most of these are hybrids or conversions, so this is a technology that is still in the relatively early stages and there's going to be a lot of blood pressures going up in the months ahead."

Indie Horror Maven Ti West Talks 'The Innkeepers,' The "Grim" State Of Modern Horror & His Upcoming Sci-Fi Project

  • By Aaron Hillis
  • |
  • February 2, 2012 2:21 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
It's strangely appropriate that the rising career of filmmaker Ti West hasn't quite been meteoric, if only because his indie horror features (five and counting, including "The House of the Devil" and his experimental sniper-in-the-woods thriller "Trigger Man") are known for their slow burn. Reverential to cinema past while shrewdly and artfully revitalizing tired horror tropes, West's naturalistic stories fit right into the wheelhouse of his producing mentor Larry Fessenden—whose Glass Eye Pix label has unleashed most of the 31-year-old filmmaker's projects, including his latest spooker, "The Innkeepers."

10 Breakout Filmmakers & Performers From The 2012 Sundance Film Festival

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • January 31, 2012 12:28 PM
  • |
  • 6 Comments
One of the major benefits of Sundance has always been the new talent it's unleashed on the world. From Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith in the festival's heyday to more recent discoveries like Carey Mulligan, Jennifer Lawrence, Cary Fukunaga and Drake Doremus, the film world shifts ever so slightly each January as burgeoning filmmakers make their mark on the industry.

Email Updates

Recent Comments