The Playlist

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 13, 2012 1:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
One of the trickier genres to get right is the teen comedy. Walking the line between not condescending to a high-school-age audience and yet also not alienating them is a difficult balance, let alone making a film that doesn't age, feels truthful, and can be smart and funny as well. And one of the finest examples of the genre remains to this day, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

5 Things You Might Not Know About Stanley Kubrick's 'Full Metal Jacket'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 7, 2012 11:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Stanley Kubrick was never the most prolific of filmmakers, but his productivity slowed right down in the last couple of decades of his life; while there were several projects he worked on that never got made, including "Napoleon" and "A.I.," the director only made three films in the last twenty years of his career. And sandwiched between 1980's "The Shining" and 1999's posthumously-released "Eyes Wide Shut" was his Vietnam war epic "Full Metal Jacket."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Lost Boys' On Its 25th Anniversary

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 1, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Vampires are pretty much everywhere these days, with the "Twilight" franchise and TV's "The Vampire Diaries" gripping the imagination of teen audiences the world over. In part, it's because of the element of sexuality inherent in vampires, something that's been present ever since the archetype was born in Bram Stoker's "Dracula." But the idea of vampires appealing to teens, now something worth billions of dollars, can be traced directly back to one film: Joel Schumacher's 1987 film "The Lost Boys."

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Deliverance,' Released 40 Years Ago Today

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 30, 2012 1:11 PM
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  • 2 Comments
For a film just entering its fifth decade, "Deliverance" still maintains a real power to horrify. Based on James Dickey's poetic novel, and adapted by the writer himself, it follows four friends (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) who go for a canoeing trip together in the Georgia wilderness, only to come into terrifying conflict with some inbred locals. And that plotline taps into very primal fears -- man vs. nature, town vs. country -- and perhaps most memorably, it preys on masculinity, thanks to film's unforgetabble rape sequence.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Dark Knight'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 19, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 3 Comments
"Batman Begins" had been a modest hit, taking nearly $400 million worldwide, but given that "Superman Returns" made slightly more in 2006, and failed to launch a franchise, Christopher Nolan had to really push the boat out for his second film. And he certainly did. "The Dark Knight" was longer, bigger and better than its predecessor, pioneering the use of IMAX cameras in feature films and introducing one of the most unforgettable performances in genre movies, in the shape of Heath Ledger's Joker, who became an instant icon the moment the first trailer appeared.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Batman Begins'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 18, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 9 Comments
While we appreciate that you're probably focused on this Friday's release of Daniel Auteil's directorial debut "The Well-Digger's Daughter," this week also sees the release of one other little film: "The Dark Knight Rises," the third and final chapter of Christopher Nolan's reinvention of the Batman character and world. The most critically acclaimed superhero franchise to date, the films have seen Nolan (who before turning to the series had only made three movies, all relatively small-budgeted thrillers) take a grounded approach, tackling the on-the-surface silly premise of a man dressing up as a bat to fight crime, and making it psychologically plausiuble in a way that's proven endlessly influential on tentpoles ever since.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Paul Verhoeven's 'Robocop,' Released 25 Years Ago Today

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 17, 2012 2:53 PM
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  • 5 Comments
We're just over a year away from seeing "Robocop" back on screens, in a remake/reboot with "Elite Squad" director Jose Padilha making his English-language debut on the film, and an impressive cast featuring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish, Samuel L. Jackson and Hugh Laurie . A viral video has already appeared, and this weekend saw banners from the film debut at Comic-Con.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Disney's 'Tron,' Released 30 Years Ago Today

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 9, 2012 10:55 AM
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  • 1 Comment
As has been discussed ad infinitum this year, on its 30th anniversary, the summer of 1982 holds a very special place in the hearts of geeks of a certain age; between May and August, a number of films now deemed genre classics hit theaters, proving to be a life-changing experience for many. "Conan The Barbarian," "E.T," "Blade Runner," "The Thing," "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan" -- all have only grown in reputation over time. And one of the last of that wave, Disney's "Tron," perhaps inspired one of the most fervent cults of them all.

5 Things You May Not Know About 'Do The Right Thing'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 2, 2012 8:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments
On a weekend where record temperatures were being recorded in New York City, and elsewhere in the U.S., it's appropriate that two of the best films in theaters, "Magic Mike" and "Take This Waltz," both revolve around long, hot summers. And it's doubly appropriate that Saturday also marked the anniversary of perhaps the definitive heatwave movie: Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing." Of course, Lee's masterpiece isn't just a look at Brooklyn over a boiling hot summer day, it's also one of the greatest American films in the history of the medium, one whose critical reputation has only grown since Kim Basinger's protestation on stage at the Oscars the following year that it was the best film of 1989, and yet hadn't been nominated (although Danny Aiello got a nod, as did Lee's screenplay).

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • 4 Comments
June 25, 1982, was a good day for genre fans. Hell, that summer saw a spate of genre classics released, including "The Road Warrior," "Poltergeist," and "E.T." But June 25th in particular saw not only the release, as we discussed earlier today, of "Blade Runner," but also another legendary sci-fi picture, which like Ridley Scott's film, wasn't well-received at the time, and flopped at the box office, but went on to be enshrined in the geek hall of fame. No, it's not Barry Bostwyck vehicle "MegaForce," it was John Carpenter's terrifying "The Thing," which despite the efforts of last year's poor retread/prequel, remains one of the greatest sci-fi/horrors ever made.

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