The Playlist

2011: The Year The Big Projects Died & Studios Discovered (A Little) Fiscal Responsibility

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 28, 2011 12:39 PM
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  • 4 Comments
The giant financial crisis that began in 2008 is probably the single event that's had the most wide-reaching ramifications since 9/11, but, as ever, it's taken a few years for the film industry to reflect that, bar the occasional handy coincidence, like "Up in the Air." For the most part, 2011 was the year in which cinematic storytellers began to deal with the mess, from surprise hit "Margin Call" and HBO drama "Too Big To Fail" to the barely-able-to-make-rent lead in "Bridesmaids" and New Depression-era setting of "Real Steel." Even "Tower Heist," dealt with financial inequity and films like "Warrior" dealt with character struggling to make due.

The Best Dog Of The Year Performance: Arthur From 'Beginners'

  • By The Playlist
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  • December 27, 2011 12:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The first in a line of many dog performances hit for us in March of this year at SXSW, but there’s been avid debate (for some reason) about which performance deserves some sort of award (or treat).

Bored Over Christmas? Here's Every Feature The Playlist Ran In 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 24, 2011 10:00 AM
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  • 9 Comments
The bulk of our time might be spent dealing with news on what's coming up, or reviews on what's just about to arrive, but we're not all about the future here at The Playlist. Once a week or so, we try to take an in-depth look at films gone by. Sometimes it's the work of an actor or a director, living or dead, retired or in the peak of their powers. Sometimes it's a particular genre. Sometimes it's whatever takes our fancy.

Drew Taylor's Favorite Films Of 2011

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 24, 2011 9:25 AM
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  • 21 Comments
2011 was undoubtedly the year of Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life." It just wasn't for me. After winning the Palme d'Or on the same day that I saw the movie, I was left feeling baffled. Like I had missed something.

The Playlist's Man Of The Year 2011: Michael Fassbender

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 22, 2011 3:12 PM
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  • 22 Comments
A couple of days ago, as part of our year-end coverage, we named Jessica Chastain as our Woman of the Year, and it was an easy decision to make; no one's been as omnipresent, or given as many different, and excellent, turns, as Chastain did. But our man of the year was slightly more difficult. Should it be Matt Damon, who cropped up in five major releases, including Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion?" Hmm... no. Damon's "Happy Feet Two" shrimp partner Brad Pitt, who fought to get both "The Tree of Life" and "Moneyball" made, to tremendous results? No. Ryan Gosling, who embraced stardom at long last with a trio of performances in "Crazy Stupid Love," "Drive" and "The Ides of March?" George Clooney, who directed the latter and starred in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants?" No.

Gabe Toro's Best Films Of 2011

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 21, 2011 3:30 PM
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  • 55 Comments
Great art challenges. Bad art flatters. But those of us who don’t dedicate our lives to film don’t always seek to be challenged. Sometimes we want to experience art at our leisure. One doesn’t schedule, or plan the impact of art (making a film review deceptive, as it can never be a critics’ final thoughts).

My Favorite Films Of 2011: Christopher Bell

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • December 20, 2011 2:30 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Something that always bothered me about being a critic was that your feelings on whatever you're writing about suddenly get stuck in stone after pushing that glorious "Publish" icon.

The Playlist Staff Pick Their Most Underrated & Overrated Films Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 20, 2011 9:26 AM
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  • 66 Comments
One of the pecularities of our site is our insistence on writing in the third personn, something designed to create the impression of a collective, a hive mind, and it's served us fairly well so far. But the realities of this are a little trickier; we're not all programmed the same way, and our beloved readers, understandably, can be puzzled to see a film derided in a review, and then ranking highly in our end-of-year features. But the truth is, we're not all cut from the same cloth; one person's treasure can be another's trash, and the debates around The Playlist's proverbial water cooler rage on year-round (for some reason, we continue to fight about Polanski's "The Ghost Writer," two years after it came out).

Bright Shining Stars: The Breakthrough Performances Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 16, 2011 12:51 PM
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  • 21 Comments
One of the many reasons that film never, ever gets dull is the constant changing of the guard. Every year sees a new heap of talent emerging, thanks to film festivals and canny casting directors, often coming from seemingly nowhere to fly off the screen, whether in a microbudget indie or a blockbuster, proving that talent can come out at any level.

Hope You Like Synths: The Best Scores & Soundtracks Of 2011

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 14, 2011 2:29 PM
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  • 30 Comments
Way back in the day, The Playlist started as a site focused principally on the places where movies and music met, and in particular, on scores and soundtracks. We've widened our net in the intervening years simply because that sole focus felt too small and we're movie lovers just as much as music lovers, but that interest has never gone away. And how could it? In many ways, we've reached the most interesting time in film scoring in years, with 2011 in particular seeing a number of electronic artists bringing the synth back into fashion in a big way. Between these and last year's Daft Punk-abled "Tron: Legacy" score, has there ever been a time when movie music has been so, well, danceable?

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