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The Playlist

Albert Brooks Was Forced To Turn Down Burt Reynolds' Role In 'Boogie Nights' Because Of Scheduling

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 1, 2011 1:24 AM
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  • 3 Comments
'Drive' Star Also Passed On 'Big,' 'Dead Poets Society' And 'Pretty Woman'Of the many things that have made a comeback in 2011 -- Wilson Phillips, high-waisted pants, the street protest -- perhaps the happiest is the resurgence of Albert Brooks. Mostly absent from screens in the past decade, bar a vocal turn in Pixar's masterpiece "Finding Nemo," and his directorial flop "Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World," Brooks returned with an acclaimed book, "2030: The Real Story of What Happened to America," took to Twitter and instantly became the funniest thing on it, and played, against type, mobster Bernie Rose in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," a performance that looks likely to take him to the Oscars.

The Amazing Race: Will Veterans Or Newcomers Win Out In The Supporting Categories?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 7, 2011 6:56 AM
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  • 11 Comments
In contrast to the Best Actor & Actress race, which we've examined in the last few weeks, the supporting categories are looking much more open. A-list movie stars like Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz and Cate Blanchett, who've all figured in recent years, are mostly absent from contention, and only a few performances have really planted a flag in the category, with some initially strong contenders already starting to slip away.

The Road To 'Drive': The Films Of Nicolas Winding Refn

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • September 20, 2011 4:56 AM
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  • 13 Comments
After months of build-up, moviegoers finally got a look at "Drive," the much-acclaimed crime thriller by Nicolas Winding Refn, this weekend. With a C- Cinemascore (whatever that's worth), it's clearly a divisive picture, but there's been enough passion spent on the film, here and elsewhere, to suggest that plenty of discerning cinephiles have fallen for it in the way that several Playlist staffers have in recent weeks. And if you were one of them, Refn might have been a new face for you; the director has been active for fifteen years now, but only really started to come to attention of U.S. film fans in the last few years (or arguably, months), thanks to a pair of English-language pictures.

Albert Brooks Says He Knows His 'Drive' Character's Entire Backstory

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • September 16, 2011 7:54 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Filmmaker/Actor Says His Next Directorial Effort Will Be "Odd And Different"You should already know about Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive." We haven't been the only ones pumping the picture, and for good reason -- it's one of the slickest, coolest pictures of the year; a tight genre picture with substance and style. Following an unnamed Hollywood stunt actor simply referred to in the credits as 'The Driver' (Ryan Gosling), the story is a minimalistic fairy-tale/noir mash-up involving Jewish gangsters and a family in danger. The attractive cast also includes Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks, and Christina Hendricks.

Nicolas Winding Refn May Make A Horror Film With Carey Mulligan

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 12, 2011 11:55 AM
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  • 6 Comments
'Drive' Director Also Talks Action Flick 'Only God Forgives,' An Abandoned Heist Pic & An Albert Brooks-Penned ComedyIf you've read any kind of movie blog in the last six months you're likely to see that almost everyone is enamored with Nicolas Winding Refn's beautiful, thrilling crime picture "Drive," which will undoubtedly nestle near the top of many year-end lists (including ours), when the time comes. It might feel like you've been hearing about the film for years now, seeing as the reviews have been piling in since it bowed at Cannes way back in May, but the film finally hits theaters on Friday, and you'll be able to check out all the fuss for yourself.

Empire Big Screen '11 Review: Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Reminds Us Why We Love The Movies

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 16, 2011 4:02 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Good god, it's been a bad year at the cinema. It's not so much that there've been a lot of awful films, although of course there have. It's more that there have been a lot of deeply average ones, and very little greatness to share around. Even the better end of the scale, it's not quite scratched the right itch for us: as good as, say, "Beginners" or "Win Win" or "Midnight in Paris" are, they don't quite get the synapses firing in the way that truly great cinema does. It's the kind of thing that the crime flick has always done well -- there's a reason that the Cahiers du Cinema crowd worshiped early American genre pictures, for example, but there's been little to be excited about even in that department. So it's lucky that Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" has come along: it's a shot of pure cinema straight to the eyeball, and one that's stopped us from losing the faith just as we were about to start looking for gigs at What Yacht Magazine.

Empire Big Screen '11: Nicolas Winding Refn Says 'Wonder Woman' A Go If He Does 'Logan's Run' Right

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 16, 2011 1:37 AM
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Plus Nine More Things We Learned From The 'Drive' DirectorMore and more of The Playlist team are catching up with Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," and every one of us that has seen it has loved it: it's easily one of the best movies of the year. The film was the secret screening at Empire Big Screen in London on Saturday night (we'll have a full review later), and Refn came up for a Q&A afterwards, moderated by the magazine's Damon Wise, which revealed a few insights into his top-notch crime drama, as well as an update on the status on what Refn hopes will be his biggest film to date. Below, ten highlights from the Q&A. Warning: some mild spoilers for "Drive" may be ahead.

Judd Apatow's 'Knocked Up' Spin-off Will Be More Like 'Funny People' Says Albert Brooks

  • By Sam Price
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  • August 9, 2011 1:59 AM
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  • 6 Comments
There’s still scant information going around about Judd Apatow’s fourth film as writer-director. Previously entitled “This is Forty,” all we knew previously was that it was a spin-off/sequel of sorts to 2006’s “Knocked Up” featuring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters five years on from the events of the first film. It also boasts a bevy of talent either culled from other Apatow projects or newly welcomed into the family -- Megan Fox, Lena Dunham, Chris O’Dowd, Wyatt Russell, Melissa McCarthy , Annie Mumolo, and Ryan Lee – with Charlene Yi and Jason Segel as the only other holdovers from the 2006 original. Now there's another nugget of information. Albert Brooks -- a talented writer-director in his own right whose deft blend of scabrous self-criticism and incisive comedy has been consistently underrated -- is set to play Rudd’s father, and has given some insight as to what the film's tone will be and hints that audiences should expect something more closely aligned to the messy emotionalism of “Funny People” than the out-and-out yuks of Apatow’s earlier efforts.

'Drive' Duo Ryan Gosling & Nicolas Winding Refn To Re-Team For Romantic Comedy

  • By Matthew Newlin
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  • June 19, 2011 11:47 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Director And Star Trying To Push Albert Brooks To WriteThough his Cannes Best Director winning film "Drive" doesn't hit theaters until the fall, director Nicolas Winding Refn is already lining up a future project with his star Ryan Gosling. In addition to their remake of "Logan's Run," the two have announced plans to make yet another film together, this time a romantic comedy. Refn has already announced the plot of his next film, "Only God Forgives," but recently told the L.A. Times that he and Gosling are hoping to work again on a comedy project in the near future. As if that news wasn't earth-shattering enough for you, Refn and Gosling are trying to persuade "Drive" co-star Albert Brooks to write the screenplay.

Cannes Review: Nicolas Winding Refn's Low-Slung '80s Crime Drama 'Drive' Has A Dark Majesty

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 19, 2011 12:22 PM
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  • 14 Comments
Why is "Drive" -- a seemingly trivial affair about a stuntman and part-time getaway driver, played by Ryan Gosling, pulled into deep and bloody waters on the neon-and-streetlight lit streets of L.A. -- even at Cannes, let alone in competition? It's not merely because of the bloody-but-brilliant background of director Nicolas Winding Refn, whose films (the "Pusher" trilogy, "Bronson," "Valhalla Rising") have demonstrated both an eye for composition and a taste for the jugular. It's not merely because of the film's cinematic roots, with the production seemingly crafted as a clear tribute to '80s-era Michael Mann and other synthesizer-and-faux-leather action-crime stories. Rather, you can make a case that "Drive" is here because action cinema and genre cinema are too important -- and too exciting, enthralling and, yes, artful when well made -- to be merely dismissed as suitable only for hacks to make and dolts to watch. French enthusiasm for American crime cinema from the '40s and '50s gave us the vocabulary and value set to truly appreciate film noir -- and anyone who can truly appreciate film noir will appreciate "Drive."

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