The Playlist

The Essentials: The 5 Best Sam Fuller Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 10, 2012 3:49 PM
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  • 8 Comments
The great Sam Fuller began life as a crime reporter at the age of 17, before writing pulp novels and doing mostly uncredited work on screenplays through the 1930s (his first credit was on 1936's "Hats Off"). He served in World War Two, seeing action in France, Italy and North Africa, as well as being present at (and filming) the liberation of the concentration camp at Sokolov. By the time he came to direct in 1939 -- having been inspired by his anger at what Douglas Sirk did to his screenplay "Shockproof" -- Fuller would infuse his work with his experience as both a journalist and a soldier.

5 Of Dustin Hoffman's Most Underrated Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 9, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 13 Comments
There’s a certain generation of male stars who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s who signify that golden age of American cinema, starring in some of the most acclaimed films of that era while also maintaining long careers as box office draws that continue to this day. Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty -- a line-up of actors that, for the most part, puts today’s A-listers to shame. And the unlikeliest of them all is Dustin Hoffman.

12 Of Our Favorite London-Set Movies To Get You Through The Olympics

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 27, 2012 2:59 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Tonight, the 2012 Summer Olympics will kick off in London, and while our tolerance for sporting events is relatively low, we're a bit excited. In part, it's because it's taking place in the city where this writer was born, raised and still lives, and in part it's because the opening ceremony was masterminded by British filmmaker Danny Boyle, the man behind films like "Trainspotting" and "Slumdog Millionaire."

The Essentials: The 5 Best John Frankenheimer Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 6, 2012 1:57 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Few filmmakers these days name John Frankenheimer as an influence. He was never particularly trendy, never embraced by the auteurists or overtly paid homage by those who came after. In part, it's because of some of his later projects; the commercial failure of thriller "Black Sunday" in 1977 drove him to alcoholism that lasted for several years (it was only when he was reduced to drinking on the set of martial arts actioner "The Challenge" in 1981 that he checked himself into rehab), and some of his later projects, including his final film, "Reindeer Games," and the famous disaster "The Island Of Doctor Moreau" (on which the helmer replaced Richard Stanley several weeks into production) meant his critical reputation took a hit.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Tom Cruise Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 3, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 20 Comments
Tom Cruise turns 50 today, and he's probably had better birthdays. His latest film, "Rock Of Ages," was a box office disappointment, and on Friday, it emerged that Katie Holmes, his third wife, and mother of his daughter Suri, was filing for divorce. Just as things were seemingly starting to get back on track after a difficult half decade -- last year's "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" was his biggest hit ever -- it looks like the actor is hitting another rough patch.

15 Great Films About Failing Relationships

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 28, 2012 11:58 AM
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  • 17 Comments
After doing the rounds on VoD for a few weeks, where many of you will have seen it, Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" starts to roll out in theaters from tomorrow, and we can't recommend it enough; it's a messy, sometimes frustrating film, but a deeply felt, beautifully made and wonderfully acted one, and we named it last week as one of the best of the year so far. It is not, however, recommended as a date movie, fitting into a long cinematic tradition of painful examinations of broken, decaying, collapsing or dead relationships.

The Best Films Of 2012...So Far

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 21, 2012 9:58 AM
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  • 26 Comments
It feels like only yesterday that we were talking about the best films of 2011, and yet here we are, nearly at the end of June, and we've seen pretty much everything that the first half of the year has to offer. So with the mid-point of 2012 nearly upon us, we thought we'd look over the best films we've seen in theaters over the last six months.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Johnny Depp Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 9, 2012 3:01 PM
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  • 20 Comments
Despite the relative disappointment of "Dark Shadows" (and the film's closing on $200 million worldwide, which is nothing to be sniffed at), Johnny Depp is still one of the biggest stars in the world, something sure to only be further cemented by next year's "The Lone Ranger." And the actor must have had one of the most curious career paths of the top-tier actors: from horror movie fodder in "Nightmare on Elm Street" to war movie bit-parter in "Platoon" to TV hearthrob in "21 Jump Street" to freakish leading man in "Edward Scissorhands" to leading man in indie-minded films like "Benny & Joon" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" to would-be mainstream leading man in "Chocolat" and "From Hell."

The Essentials: Tim Burton's 5 Best Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 10, 2012 3:10 PM
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  • 35 Comments
Tomorrow sees "Dark Shadows" will hit theaters, the latest gothic entertainment from director Tim Burton and his muse Johnny Depp. And, as per our review, and many others, it's sadly an another disappointment, another wonderful-looking, empty picture that seems to have been derived from the filmmaker and his star taking on the kind of picture that's expected of them, rather than something to push or challenge them.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Denzel Washington Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 10, 2012 12:58 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Sometimes, winning an Oscar seems to change things for an actor. Look at Al Pacino, who's barely taken anything worth his time since he won for "Scent of a Woman" in 1992, or Kevin Spacey, who starred in a string of dull would-be-heartwarmers after picking up his gold for "American Beauty." And you could argue the same for Denzel Washington. He's irrefutably one of the most charismatic screen presences around, with even more gravitas than ever before as he closes on his 60s. But since he won Best Actor from the Academy for "Training Day," his film roles seem to have been a variation on a theme; thrillers that sometimes work, sometimes don't, but rarely leave you reeling the way his best work does, with his real energy seemingly reserved for directing work or stage performances like "Julius Caesar" and "Fences" (the latter of which won him a Tony).

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