The Playlist

Review: 'The Lego Movie' Starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 3, 2014 3:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It's easy to view "The Lego Movie" with a degree of skepticism, if not outright suspicion. This is, after all, a movie that is based on a popular line of building block toys, and one that, unlike big screen adaptations of things like "Transformers" or "Battleship," actually retain the original toy's childlike designs. In fact, "The Lego Movie" goes out of its way to remind you of the tiny plastic construction toys that you grew up and probably manipulated in some unwholesome ways. So a degree of cynicism is probably warranted, considering just how closely the movie could resemble a feature-length commercial (and to be sure, whole aisles of toy stores are currently being flooded by the stuff). But it turns out that "The Lego Movie" is an absolute blast—a whip-smart, surprisingly emotional family film where the toy property is seen less as a concrete template than a tool for seemingly limitless potential.

The Best & The Worst Of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 25, 2013 1:40 PM
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  • 66 Comments
Catching Fire, feature
Now officially the all-time November opening record holder, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" was always a fairly sure thing in terms of box office. But what's more impressive is the advance word on the film (our own included), and the buzz around it, which has been so positive, with it being touted as the rare sequel that improves on the original, and with many going so far as to compare it to "The Empire Strikes Back." (Though, to be honest, we think that comparison is more to do with how open-ended it feels, with the good guys separated and some of them still imperiled, at the film's close.) Some of us might not go quite that far, but certainly director Francis Lawrence has made good on delivering a broader, more nuanced and more layered film than the first, which is fitting considering he was adapting what we'd consider the best of the three books, by quite some distance.

Elizabeth Banks Joins 'What To Expect When You're Expecting'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 11, 2011 5:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment
"Spent the morning standing around in my underwear with a nice group of strangers trying on bellies. Guess why," actress Elizabeth Banks tweeted this afternoon. Well, she didn't keep it a secret for too long as she quickly followed it up with, "Joining J Lo, Cameron Diaz and the rest of the awesome cast of What To Expect When You're Expecting! Let's have babies together!"

Elizabeth Banks Producing A Capella Comedy 'Pitch Perfect'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 1, 2011 12:14 PM
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  • 1 Comment
In the world of "Glee" and "High School Musical," of comedies about spelling bees and debate teams and cheerleaders and frat houses, it's almost staggering that we've managed to go through the history of cinema without a film focusing on college a capella groups. But fret no longer! Nature abhors a vacuum, and as such, and hot on the heels of that one scene in "The Social Network," a comedy focusing on the backing-free singing groups is now in the works.

Elizabeth Banks, Kirsten Dunst, Blake Lively & More Testing For 'The Silver Linings Playbook'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 23, 2011 6:45 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams, Andrea Riseborough, Olivia Wilde & Possibly Jennifer Lawrence All In The MixSo what happens when your last film earns seven Oscar nominations and two wins for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress? You get your pick of the lot when it comes to rounding up the cast for your next film.

Paul Rudd Is A Smiley Moron In First Poster For 'Our Idiot Brother'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 10, 2011 8:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Even though the film received respectful, rather than rave, reviews on its Sundance bow (our own review was one of the more positive), you can't cast Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, T.J. Miller, Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn in a comedy together without leaving us begging to see the finished film, and that's why we've been firmly looking forward to "Our Idiot Brother" all year long.

Elizabeth Banks Will Play 'Hunger Games' As Effie Trinket

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 19, 2011 1:18 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Earlier today, "Hunger Games" added newcomers Dayo Okeniyi and Amandla Stenberg as District 10 members Thresh and Rue, and now a bigger name has come aboard the Gary Ross film in a meaty role.

The Playlist Foolishly, and Prematurely, Predicts Best Supporting Actor & Actress At The 2012 Oscars

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 3, 2011 10:32 AM
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  • 8 Comments
So, yes, you know the drill by now: we've done Best Picture for 2012 and we've done our Actor and Actress picks. Now, we're turning our hand to the ever-undervalued supporting players.

Sundance ‘11 Review: ‘The Details’ Is An Inconsistent But Entertaining Dark Comedy

  • By Cory Everett
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  • February 3, 2011 4:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
“The Details” is one of those dark comedies where everything that can go wrong does. The sophomore film from Jacob Aaron Estes, whose previous film “Mean Creek” won the John Cassavetes Award at Sundance in 2004, was the biggest sale of this year's festival being bought by The Weinstein Company for $8 million. Of the dozen movies this writer saw while he was at the fest, it was one of the more accessible, but didn’t exactly ring of “Little Miss Sunshine”-like success either. The film stars Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks as Jeff and Nealy Lang, young parents who have hit a rough patch in their marriage. Jeff is a doctor, Nealy is an interior decorator and while it’s probably neither’s fault, the passion has clearly gone out of their relationship, the image of the happy suburban couple is immediately shattered by a screaming match between the couple during the opening credits.

Sundance '11 Review: 'My Idiot Brother' Is Apatovian, Pleasureable & A Real Surprise

  • By The Playlist
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  • January 23, 2011 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments
From our reviews correspondent over at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, James Rocchi.“My Idiot Brother,” directed by Jesse Peretz, is in many ways a hard film to rationalize here at the Sundance film festival. It is a glossy comedy, albeit with a thin layer of surface grime provided by harsh language, brief nudity and other mature circumstances to take a bit of the gleam off. It is about as “independent” as a premature infant on a respirator. It does not introduce new faces and talents, nor does it show us talents we know doing something different. Instead, “My Idiot Brother” assembles a comedy dream team for a story of family and forgiveness, shows us people trying to be good, trying to be more than themselves, and has amazing comedy bits ranging from huge sight gags and ba-doomp-boomp! punchlines, to razor-sharp sentences that boomerang back after they’ve whizzed by and silent expressions that convey volumes. It is a clear heir to the Apatovian comedy trend of emotional journeys along roads pocked with potty-talk potholes, and yet it also has as much heart as, if not more than, the best of Apatow’s work. It may be slender, but it is also a sheer delight.

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