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The Playlist

Gus Van Sant Talks Taking Over 'Promised Land' From Matt Damon, The Film's "Spy Scene" & Much More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 4, 2013 10:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Gus Van Sant has always been a director who is hard to pin down, veering from insanely small-scale, personal works like "Elephant" and "Paranoid Park" to larger scale entertainments like "Finding Forrester" and his admirable-if-unsuccessful "Psycho" remake. This week, his charming eco-drama "Promised Land" opens, which casts his "Good Will Hunting" co-writer Matt Damon as an operative from a natural gas company who travels to a small, financially struggling Pennsylvania town to woo them to sell the drilling rights to their land. But his efforts run up against an environmentalist, played by John Krasinski (who co-wrote "Promised Land" with Damon), who tries to alert the citizens to the dangers they might face with the "fracking" process. It's not as showy as most of the movies grabbing for Oscar gold, but it's a solid, well-intentioned drama, beautifully, almost impressionistically directed by Van Sant.

Tom Hooper Says "The Camera Should Be A Meditation On The Human Face" & More From The Cast Of 'Les Misérables'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 28, 2012 3:12 PM
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  • 5 Comments
If the box office was anything to go by, if you saw any movie on Christmas Day with your family/friends/ON YOUR OWWWWN, it was "Les Misérables," Tom Hooper's blockbuster adaptation of the long-running musical stage adaptation of Victor Hugo's epic novel. Complete with an all-star cast of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham-Carter and Eddie Redmayne, the film might have gotten some mixed responses, but it was overwhelmingly the favorite choice of audiences on the 25th, and looks likely to be a major force when Oscar nominations are announced in a couple of weeks.

"It's Not A Propaganda Movie": Jessica Chastain On Torture, The CIA & 'Zero Dark Thirty'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 28, 2012 1:21 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Two years ago, it's possible that only friends and family of Jessica Chastain, along with a savvy casting director or two, would have been able to point her out in a line-up. But after a hugely busy 2011, and a fairly hectic 2012, she's one of the most in demand actresses around, something that's only been further cemented by her role in Kathryn Bigelow's controversial, much-praised "Zero Dark Thirty," which looks set to land her her second Oscar nomination -- and possibly even her first win -- in a few weeks time.

'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Writer Lucy Alibar On Turning The Play Into A Film, Visions Of The Apocalypse & More

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • December 21, 2012 3:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments
While Benh Zeitlin has deservedly received much praise and many laurels for his direction of the little movie that could, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a critical darling appearing on many end-of-the-year Best of Lists, it was his longtime friend and co-writer Lucy Alibar who sent him her original play, "Juicy And Delicious" that eventually evolved into the film. Making big waves when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, going on to play the Cannes Film Festival in the spring and since then earning accolade after accolade, 'Beasts' is one of the most distinctive features of the year, and is hotly buzzed to finish its journey with an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

The Playlist Year In Quotes 2012

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 21, 2012 2:11 PM
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  • 2 Comments
For those of us who've been here since The Playlist was a rinky-dink little blogspot, it's pretty exciting that, as we've grown along with our faithful readers, we've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk more and more to the actors, writers and directors of the films we love. And 2012 was certainly our biggest year ever. Both as regular business and as part of the festival circuit (we were at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Karlovy Vary, Cannes, LAFF, NYFC, TIFF, Venice, Marrakech, London and more), we managed to talk to dozens and dozens filmmakers and performers.

John Boorman Talks Almost Making 'Lord Of The Rings,' Working With Marcello Mastroianni, What He's Doing Next & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • December 17, 2012 11:02 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Veteran director John Boorman, president of the Jury at the Marrakech International Film Festival last week, has had an interestingly checkered career of era-defining highs ("Deliverance," "Point Blank") and baffling, outlandish lows ("Zardoz,""Exorcist II") and all points in between. Now nearing 80, the director, in addition to his presidential duties, was the subject of a "Conversation with…" evening, during which time he reminisced and curmudgeoned in a profane, often hilarious manner, following a showing of his daughter Katrine's documentary about him, "Me and Me Dad." Unfortunately we missed the film, but heard good things about it, and the “Conversation with...” went a long way to making up for that in sheer entertainment value.  Essentially as often in his career, Boorman gave the audience exactly what they wanted: lots of gossipy anecdotes about the people he's worked with, and plenty of Billy Wilder quotes. Here are a few choice findings from the evening.

Judd Apatow Calls 'This Is 40' A "Coded Conversation" About His Life: 6 Things Learned About The 'Knocked Up' Spinoff

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • December 11, 2012 3:09 PM
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  • 0 Comments
After the comprehensive onslaught of attributed projects for which his name lies above the title, it then remains a rare and welcome sight to see Judd Apatow return for his fourth directorial effort, “This is 40.” Last seen in 2009 with “Funny People,” Apatow has now expanded his cinematic universe with his latest film to focus on Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), two supporting characters from “Knocked Up” who return saddled with a host of unexplored issues.

The Playlist Interview: David O. Russell Talks ‘Silver Linings Playbook, His Love Of Vince Vaughn & The “Mature” Second Phase Of His Career

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • December 11, 2012 2:50 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The David O. Russell narrative generally tends to focus on the past. The chaotic sets of “I Heart Huckabees,” an ancient history fist fight with George Clooney, and “Nailed,” a film that was abandoned after financiers shut it down before production was completed. But the filmmaker’s narrative is changing and leaving that noise in the dust. 2010’s vibrant and limber “The Fighter” won two Supporting Oscars (for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo) and it earned itself seven Academy Award nods in total. And this year, his follow-up, the equally ebullient and intoxicating “Silver Linings Playbook,” which already took the coveted Audience Award prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, looks poised to repeat that kind of success.

The Playlist Interview: Christopher Nolan Talks The Writing Process, Batman As A Sociopath & Finding His Darth Vader [Part 2]

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • December 6, 2012 4:47 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Christopher Nolan is a hard man to track down, but after some patience and persistence, we were lucky enough to sit down with the (to name just a few) "Memento," "Prestige" and "Inception" director at length to discuss "The Dark Knight Rises," his debut feature film "Following" and much more about his lauded Batman trilogy. You can read all that right here in part one of our talk, and continue with us as we dug deeper with Nolan into the mythology of his Batman films and his process for putting the pieces of his entire series together, all of which we've presented in a part two below.

Interview: Martin McDonagh On A 'Pillowman' Movie, 'Seven Psychopaths' And The Genius Of Sam Rockwell

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 6, 2012 3:23 PM
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  • 1 Comment
One of the most controversial and acclaimed playwrights of the 1990s, Martin McDonagh -- the man behind stage hits like "The Beauty Queen Of Leenane," "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and "The Pillowman" -- found equal success when he moved into the movies. He won an Oscar for his first short film, "Six Shooter," and a few years later wrote and directed the hilarious, soulful black comedy "In Bruges," which became a serious hit on the festival circuit and earned him an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.

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