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The Playlist

Marrakech Interview: Kore-eda Hirokazu On Technique, Spielberg's Remake Of 'Like Father Like Son' & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 2, 2013 5:01 PM
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In person, Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu is gentle and thoughtful, with a frequent warm, shy smile--of the directors we've met, he perhaps comes closest to being the true embodiment of his films. But his humility, which was even touched on during his introduction at the Marrakech International Film Festival tribute that followed our interview, is all the more remarkable for the body of work it covers: since establishing himself instantly as a filmmaker of rare sensitivity with 1995's "Maborosi," and breaking through internationally with his vision of a bureaucratic yet sympathetic Purgatory in "After Life," he has brought films to Cannes four times, and earlier this year won the Jury Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize for the extraordinarily affecting "Like Father Like Son."

Interview: Lee Daniels Talks 'The Butler,' Wanting Oprah Winfrey For 'Prisoners,' His Hip-Hop TV Drama & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 26, 2013 12:03 PM
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Named by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 25 film schools in the country, the Savannah College Of Art & Design grows in stature year by year. The annual Savannah Film Festival—which we attended last month—is the rare event that almost seamlessly marries the glitz of the red carpet with the serious aspirations of the student body. Attending filmmakers and actors often provide masterclasses to students, while the intimacy of Savannah's festivities provide accessibility that larger festivals in bigger cities don't often provide. It's against that backdrop that organizers and officials at SCAD once again brought Hollywood flavor to Georgia.

Interview: Series Creator Terence Winter Talks 'Boardwalk Empire' & The Season 4 Finale

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 25, 2013 10:09 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4, Farewell Daddy
Late last week, before the season four finale of "Boardwalk Empire," The Playlist had the chance to talk to the HBO mob drama's creator, show runner and head writer Terrence Winter. At this point, we're hoping you saw last night's season finale (recap here), a wrenching episode that saw the death of a fan favorite character (spoilers from here on in, ok?).

Brett Ratner Talks Roman Polanksi's 'Weekend Of A Champion,' 'Rush Hour 4,' His Version Of Superman & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 22, 2013 2:54 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Brett Ratner, the director of the "Rush Hour" films and, most recently, "Tower Heist," isn't someone who you would imagine as being BFFs with Roman Polanski, the arty filmmaker behind such classics as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby." But this is exactly the case. The two have been great friends for a very long time (Polanski even co-starred in "Rush Hour 2") and their latest collaboration is "Weekend of a Champion," the commercial re-release of a 1971 racing documentary that Polanski produced and co-starred in but was barely released at the time. The doc follows racing legend Jackie Stewart at the height of his racing prowess (and in the midst of his intense friendship with Polanski), and the results are kind of like a documentary version of Ron Howard's recent drama "Rush."

Interview: Peter Bogdanovich Talks 'Cold Turkey,' Endless Frustration Of Orson Welles' 'The Other Side Of The Wind' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 20, 2013 11:45 AM
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As far as living legends go, Peter Bogdanovich is right up there. As one of the influential "New Hollywood" directors of the '70s, he reshaped stuffy Hollywood in part by paying homage to it, crafting deeply personal, beautifully photographed films that served as odes to other places and times (in movies like "The Last Picture Show" and "Paper Moon"). This month he returns to his first love, acting, for a new independent comedy called "Cold Turkey." In the film (which was originally entitled "Pasadena" and played recently at the Sarasota Film Festival), Bogdanovich plays a patriarch who is put to the test when family secrets are revealed, seemingly all at once, over a painfully honest Thanksgiving weekend. It's a subtle, nuanced performance, and proof positive that, at the tender age of 74, Bogdanovich has still got it.

Michel Gondry Talks Making Sense Of Noam Chomsky In New Animated Doc, Cutting ‘Mood Indigo’ & More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • November 20, 2013 10:28 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, Michel Gondry
The prospect of holding ones weight conversationally with one of the world's most prominent thinkers is daunting enough, but in sitting down with cognitive scientist and activist Noam Chomsky for the animated documentary “Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?,” director Michel Gondry chooses a personal path through the intellectual distance. Illustrating Chomsky’s ideas on linguistics and his childhood memories via Gondry’s hand-drawn 16mm animation, the film is at once dense and incredibly playful, packed with the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” director’s trademark visuals and Chomsky’s logical clarity whether explaining the emergence of language or simply what makes him happy. We sat down recently with Gondry to discuss the film, his decision to cut down his latest effort “Mood Indigo,” and why Roman Polanski shoots Paris better than any French director—but first Gondry described how his path crossed that of Chomsky in the first place.

James Toback Talks ‘Seduced & Abandoned,’ Working With Robert Downey Jr. Fresh Out of Prison & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 14, 2013 4:30 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Seduced And Abandoned
It sounds like the makings of a bad joke. A renowned filmmaker (James Toback) and a famous actor (Alec Baldwin) walk into a film festival with an idea under their arm… In reality, it’s a film (though, it’s by all rights a documentary, just don’t tell this to the director). The HBO movie “Seduced & Abandoned” features James Toback – writer of “The Gambler” and “Bugsy” director of “Fingers,” “Two Girls & A Guy” and the doc “Tyson” – and Alec Baldwin, and follows them to the Cannes Film Festival (Baldwin’s first time ever) with the idea of pitching and selling their latest film ideas to financiers at the fest.

Interview: Will Forte Talks 'Nebraska,' What He Learned From Alexander Payne & Bruce Dern & Status Of 'MacGruber 2'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 14, 2013 2:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Nebraska
There are a number of surprises nestled within Alexander Payne's warmly homespun "Nebraska." Like all of Payne's films, it dangles on the precipice between drama and comedy, this time following an elderly man (a revelatory Bruce Dern) as he travels to Nebraska to collect his winnings from a phony sweepstakes mailer he's received. Accompanying him on the journey is his son, played by Will Forte, who is both humoring him and looking for a way to connect with his emotionally distant father. And it's Forte's performance that might be the biggest, most delightful surprise in "Nebraska." This is, after all, an actor who, just a couple of years ago, waddled around on screen with a stalk of celery sticking out of his butthole. Talk about range.

Who Really Created The 'Inception' BRAAAM? Composer Mike Zarin Sets The Record Straight

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 13, 2013 1:18 PM
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  • 25 Comments
It has become nearly omnipresent in blockbuster trailers, it was the defining characteristic of a major movie campaign, it has become as recognizable as any piece of score or movie music, and you know it as one single, stomach rumbling note: BRAAAM! Ever since it accented the mysterious world Christopher Nolan was conjuring for "Inception," there has been an equally enigmatic air surrounding just who is the true creator of this dark musical motif. Most of us assumed we had it figured out when Hans Zimmer shared last week how the sound was created, along with his disdain for its overuse in movie spots. But his involvement is just a small part of a much bigger story. And composer and sound design Mike Zarin, after reading Zimmer's comments, reached out to us to finally clear the air on how the BRAAAM was made and the journey it took through the advertising campaign for "Inception." And how should he know? Because Mike Zarin created it.

Saoirse Ronan Talks 'How I Live Now', Working With James Gandolfini & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 11, 2013 12:21 PM
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  • 4 Comments
How I Live Now, Saoirse Ronan,
Not even 20 years old, Saoirse Ronan has already made a significant cinematic impression. Most of us got our first glimpse of Ronan in Joe Wright’s operatic, Oscar-nominated literary adaptation “Atonement,” and in the years since she has anchored films for directors like Peter Jackson, Peter Weir, Andrew Niccol, and Neil Jordan. (She’s set to team with Ryan Gosling and Wes Anderson for future movies, which we quizzed her about here.) Her latest film, “How I Live Now” (our review) comes from “Last King Of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald and is based on the acclaimed young adult novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff. Last week, we got to chat with Ronan about what drew her to the film, and asked her to reminisce about what it was like working with the late, great James Gandolfini.

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