The Playlist

Wake Up, Time To Die: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Blade Runner'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 12:02 PM
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  • 7 Comments
One of the many reasons "Prometheus" was eagerly anticipated by so many was the director's track record in the sci-fi genre. Ridley Scott had only made two science fiction pictures before this year's blockbuster, and both are considered classics (and arguably his best two films). The first was 1979's "Alien," the direct inspiration for "Prometheus." And the second? 1982's "Blade Runner," the noirish mystery, and adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep," which has been one of the most talked about and influential science fiction films of all time, particularly in terms of its grim look at Los Angeles in 2019.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 20, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Is there such a thing as a perfect film? Perhaps. You could certainly argue that personal taste plays into the question of perfection too much -- one man's triumph is another's disaster. And even so, there are so many possible things that can go wrong with a film -- one duff performance, one ill-conceived shot, one poorly-written scene -- that it's almost an impossible task. But dammit if we don't consider "Chinatown" to be as close as you can get to being perfect.

20th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Batman Returns'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 19, 2012 10:58 AM
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  • 22 Comments
We’re on the eve of a brand new Batman blockbuster, next month’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which will feature Anne Hathaway as the semi-villainous cat burglar Selina Kyle who prowls the streets at night as Catwoman. While Christopher Nolan and co. have given some real-world explanations for her eccentricities (her night vision goggles prop up on her head like cat’s ears), the hardest task in defining Catwoman for a new generation will be getting out from under the shadow of Michelle Pfeiffer, whose portrayal in Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” remains one of the towering performances in all of comic book moviedom.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 15, 2012 11:58 AM
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  • 5 Comments
What's the greatest Alfred Hitchcock film? Every film fan will have a different answer, with "The 39 Steps," "Rebecca," "Spellbound," "Notorious," "Rear Window," "Vertigo" and "North By Northwest" all making compelling cases for being the very best. But few of his films had such an impact on cinema as "Psycho," the 1960s thriller that saw him go into darker, more shocking territory than ever before, with some of the most famous sequences in the history of the medium.

10th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Bourne Identity'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 14, 2012 2:01 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Ten years and one day ago, Doug Liman was an independent director with a couple of critical favorites behind him. Ten years and one day ago, Matt Damon was the promising writer/star of "Good Will Hunting" who's seemingly squandered his potential on a string of questionable choices, kept on the A-list only by his presence in "Ocean's Eleven." Ten years and one day ago, the spy genre was increasingly tired, with the Bond movies moving into new levels of ridiculousness (that year's "Die Another Day" would introduce Madonna and invisible cars to the series).

5 Things You Might Not Know About Joe Dante's 'Gremlins'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 8, 2012 3:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
June 8th, 1984 was a great day for movie nerds, particularly those with an affection for special effects, scares and belly laughs. Not only did they get "Ghostbusters" in theaters that day (as we've already looked at, but they also got "Gremlins," the subversive PG-rated horror-comedy from the A-list trio of writer Chris Columbus, director Joe Dante and producer Steven Spielberg.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Richard Donner & Steven Spielberg's 'The Goonies'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 7, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In the last couple of years, a spate of films, from Joe Cornish's "Attack The Block" to J.J. Abrams' "Super 8," have named one film as a particular influence: Richard Donner's "The Goonies," the 1985 kids' adventure film that served as part of the 1980s golden age of Amblin, Steven Spielberg's production company. Following a group of working class kids from the 'Goon Docks' of Astoria, Oregon, on one last adventure before their homes are demolished, only to end up on a quest, and pursued by a vicious criminal family, the Fratellis, the film is a rollicking adventure that also had a particular feel for the friendships between kids.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 4, 2012 11:02 AM
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  • 7 Comments
While "Star Trek" is now a huge, beloved franchise, recently reinvigorated by J.J. Abrams' reboot (and, fingers crossed, next year's sequel to that film), it wasn't always like that. The original 1960s series had low ratings, and only lasted three seasons, and while success in syndication let to a film version being greenlit in the aftermath of "Star Wars," that film, 1979's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," proved hugely expensive, and less profitable than Paramount had hoped.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Ridley Scott's 'Alien'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 25, 2012 10:03 AM
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  • 5 Comments
The success of "Star Wars" changed everything. While "2001" had been a giant hit a decade ago, most put it down to a fluke, but George Lucas' film suddenly proved that science fiction wasn't just for B-movies, but could be a licence to print money. Every studio in town were chasing the genre, but 20th Century Fox, who had distributed "Star Wars" had a head-start: they already had another space-set script in development, "Alien," by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Walter Hill and David Giler. They swiftly attached new helmer Ridley Scott to the project, and production got underway in the summer of 1978.

5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Empire Strikes Back'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 21, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 6 Comments
After thirty years, three terrible prequels and acres of spin-off material, the "Star Wars" brand has been somewhat tarnished. The fans are still legion, but it's become harder and harder to get excited about the series, and the highlights drift further and further from memory. That being said, we'll always have a place for the original trilogy in our hearts, and much of that comes down to the second (or fifth) installment, 1980's "The Empire Strikes Back" Despite the success of the original, creator George Lucas seemed to have taken some of the criticism to heart and took a back seat for the follow-up, handing over the directorial reins to his old film school professor Irvin Kershner ("The Eyes of Laura Mars," "The Flim-Flam Man") and hiring veteran screenwriter Leigh Brackett and bright young thing Lawrence Kasdan, who'd come to fame thanks to his as-yet-unmade scripts for "The Bodyguard" and "Continental Divide."

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