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The Playlist

Interview: Nicolas Winding Refn Compares 'Only God Forgives' To A Rembrandt, Responds To Critics & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 29, 2013 2:45 PM
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  • 12 Comments
There was undoubtedly no film that caused quite the same disproportionate signal-to-noise ratio last week as “Only God Forgives,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s return to Cannes after winning Best Director in 2011 for “Drive.” While to us the extremely polarized reaction felt more to do with the perils of unrealistic expectations (“Drive” was a left-field surprise to many in a way that “Only God Forgives” could simply never have been, given Refn’s different profile this time out), there was a difference of opinion among attending Playlisters about the film, though not one separated by such a wide gulf as elsewhere.

‘The East’ Actress & Co-Writer Brit Marling Talks The Stakes Of Espionage Thrillers, Real Life Inspiration & More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • May 29, 2013 11:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The East, Brit Marling
Alongside her co-conspirators and director friends Mike Cahill and Zal Batmanglij, actress and writer Brit Marling has fashioned a confident path for herself in the film world, simply by creating the roles she’d always wanted to play. In “Sound Of My Voice,” she played Maggie, the enigmatic cult leader possibly from the future, and in her second collaboration with Batmanglij, “The East,” an operative for a private intelligence firm who infiltrates an anarchist collective led by Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Shiloh Fernandez, and Toby Kebbell.

James Gray Reveals Details About His Developing Sci-Fi Thriller & The "Conceptual Brilliance" Of '2001'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 28, 2013 12:59 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Following the premiere of “The Immigrant” in competition late last week (our review is here), we got to talk to director James Gray in Cannes. We’ll have more of his thoughts on the shaping of that film, on working with Marion Cotillard for the first time, and a few minor updates on some other upcoming projects later on, but one topic we spoke about in greater depth was his recently announced sci-fi film. Plot outlines have been scarce so far, but Gray revealed some exciting details about what he has in mind, and the learnings he is taking from his own favorite sci-fi film, Stanley Kubrick’s exceptional and influential “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Interview: Justin Lin Talks Why Eva Mendes Didn't Come Back, And How Robert Altman Inspired 'Fast & Furious 6'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 22, 2013 11:59 AM
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  • 2 Comments
This weekend the sixth "Fast and Furious" installment, "Fast and Furious 6" (or 'Furious 6,' if you want to be really cool), races into theaters nationwide. This new film sees much of the cast from the original movies returning, with some notable additions (like Gina Carano from "Haywire") and an even bigger scale – one action sequence involves a tank, the other a runaway plane. And a little while back, we got to chat with director Justin Lin, who has shepherded the franchise since the third movie, "Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," transitioning it from a silly "Point Break" rip-off to one of the most consistently entertaining action franchises around. Lin told us how he has been mapping out the franchise since the beginning, what thoughts he has for James Wan (who will direct the next installment) and how Robert Altman was a big inspiration on this movie (yes really).

Interview: Rick Springfield Talks David Fincher, Stanley Kubrick, And His New Epix Documentary 'An Affair of the Heart'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 15, 2013 4:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Tonight on the Epix satellite channel, a new rock documentary called "An Affair of the Heart" airs. It charts both the professional life of "Jessie's Girl" singer Rick Springfield, as well as the fans whose lives he has legitimately touched. It's an impeccably crafted and well-told documentary, which combines riveting drama from both on and off the stage, and will give you a greater appreciation of the guy whose song you sing along to every time it comes on your car radio. We spoke to Springfield about his early collaborations with David Fincher, why he's such a fan of Stanley Kubrick, and his response to the outpouring of appreciation leveled at him this year (he also appears in Dave Grohl's great "Sound City" doc).

Interview: Filmmaker Susan Ray Talks About The Life Of Nicholas Ray

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • May 14, 2013 6:59 PM
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  • 2 Comments
At the recently concluded 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival we got to sit down with filmmaker Susan Ray and discuss the subject of her 2011 documentary “Don’t Expect Much” (here’s our review from NYFF ’11) and late husband, director Nicholas Ray. Nicholas Ray began as an apprentice to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and then decided to move out to Hollywood, and the rest is cinematic history -- as early as 1953, Jean-Luc Godard wrote, “cinema is Nicholas Ray.”

Ben Mankiewicz Talks TCM Classic Film Festival, Why 'Transformers' Is "Unwatchable" & The Movie He's Seen 40 Times

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • May 14, 2013 2:59 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Ben Mankiewicz is a man of many talents – weekend host on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), regular co-host of liberal YouTube show “The Young Turks” and its spin-offs “What The Flick?! Show” and “TYT Sports,” and he played a sportscaster on “Party Down.” And while it may seem like Mankiewicz plays to a particularly older audience, as a TCM host, Mankiewicz has an expanding flock of classic film fans and they’re not all blue-hairs -- just check out the twitter hashtag #TCMParty.

Interview: Noah Baumbach Talks 'Frances Ha', Liking His 'Unlikeable' Characters, What's Next & More

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • May 14, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
We recently had the good fortune to speak with filmmaker Noah Baumbach as he starts the long, winding road of press for the upcoming release of his latest film, the sublime black-and-white character piece and uproarious comedy "Frances Ha," starring Greta Gerwig (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Baumbach). The writer/director, shot 'Frances' on the quick and quiet (hardly anyone knew it even existed until it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year), though he claims he didn't set out to keep the movie a secret.

Interview: Ben Wheatley Talks The Dark, Twisted & Hilarious 'Sightseers,' Says 'Freakshift' Is Next & Casting Soon

  • By Jordan Hoffman
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  • May 8, 2013 3:57 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Ben Wheatley, Sightseers
After a very successful run on the festival circuit Ben Wheatley's dark and somewhat ghastly comedy “Sightseers” is finally making itself available to theater-goers in hip cities and VODers across the country. It is, in my opinion, the most assured work from the British director of “Kill List” and “Down Terrace”, a very funny vacation-comedy about pair of social misfits/lovebirds visiting mundane historical sites and leaving a trail of corpses in their wake. Written by its co-stars Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Wheatley's frequent collaborator (and wife) Amy Jump, “Sightseers” also boasts an executive producer stamp from Edgar Wright.

Interview: Mark Romanek Talks Making 'One Hour Photo,' What Happened With 'Cinderella' & What Might Be Up Next

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 7, 2013 1:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Even before Mark Romanek yelled action on "One Hour Photo," his debut feature film, he was already a trailblazer behind the camera. The filmmaker had made a name for himself as a music video director, helming iconic spots for Lenny Kravitz ("Are You Gonna Go My Way"), Nine Inch Nails ("Closer"), Madonna ("Bedtime Stories"), Michael Jackson ("Scream"), Fiona Apple ("Criminal"), Johnny Cash ("Hurt") and much, much more. His videos were bold and found Romanek easily able to switch genres musically and stylistically without batting an eye, delivering evocative spots that both defined Romanek and the artists he worked with. But when it came to his feature film, he largely kept the flashy stylization at bay.

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