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The Playlist

20 Sophomore Films From Celebrated Debut Directors

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 31, 2014 3:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments
20 Sophomore Films From Celebrated Debut Directors
This week sees the release of John Michael McDonagh’s “Calvary.” Among the many things the film is--a black comedy; a murder mystery; a darkhearted fable; an anti-authoritarian screed--it is also a second film, coming on the heels of an admired debut, “The Guard.” “Calvary” is such a specific film, so unlike most anything else you’ll see this year, that it doesn’t easily lend itself to generalizations about the shape of the director’s career at this early stage, however in the feel of McDonagh digging in, getting into heavier, darker and less compromising territory, we can see a valid, some would say admirable, response to the challenges of the sophomore film.

The Playlist Summer 2014 Movie Song Mixtape

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 30, 2014 2:32 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Summer 2014, mixtape
When it comes to the delicate art of the mixtape, context is everything. And in the context of us hurtling toward the end of summer (ok fine, there’s another month left, and a few big releases still on the calendar, but we’re getting nostalgic nonetheless) we thought we’d emulate Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) in this week’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” who has a cherished memento from Earth in the form of a cassette of classic songs, by putting together a mixtape of our own.

10 Comic Books That Deserve To Be Movies

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 29, 2014 3:55 PM
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  • 19 Comments
10 Comic Books That Actually Deserve To Be Movies
As we all know, you can’t swing a cat in a multiplex without hitting a comic book movie of some kind (or without being prosecuted on animal cruelty charges). So far in 2014, “I Frankenstein,” “300: Rise Of An Empire,” “Noah” (kind of), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “X-Men: Days Of Future Past,” “Edge Of Tomorrow,” “Snowpiercer” and “Hercules” have all leapt from the page to the big-screen, with this Friday’s Marvel movie “Guardians Of The Galaxy” soon to join them, not to mention “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For,” and Helen Mirren vehicle “The Hundred-Foot Journey” before the month is out. Ok, not the Helen Mirren one.

The Films Of Werner Herzog: A Retrospective

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 29, 2014 2:06 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Werner Herzog, retrospective
It was 2011 when we first attempted our own "Fitzcarraldo"-like endeavor in writing a comprehensive retrospective on the films of the notoriously prolific Werner Herzog. Since then, not only has he added six or so more titles to his filmography, he's been feverishly at work on the seventh—the much-anticipated "Queen of the Desert" which we were hoping to see pop up on a Fall festival announcement list, but no news there yet... However, to tide us all over, today Shout Factory are releasing a limited edition, highly covetable collection of sixteen Herzog films on Blu-ray, and that has given us the excuse to go back and relook, update and generally spruce up our retrospective (which includes all sixteen of those, incidentally). And that's something we're going to do pretty much any chance we get, being huge fans of the utterly unique, brazenly individual German-born director.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's 12 Best Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 24, 2014 3:05 PM
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  • 13 Comments
Philip Seymour Hoffman's 12 Best Performances
This Friday should have been a cause for celebration: the release of "A Most Wanted Man," an adaptation of John Le Carre's novel by one of our favorite working filmmakers, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American"), and starring one of our finest working actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Instead, it's a bittersweet occasion: as we all know, Hoffman heartbreakingly passed away in February, only a few weeks after the film (and "God's Pocket," released a few months back) premiered at Sundance. It was the last film that Hoffman saw to completion: he was in production on what will turn out to be his very final pictures, the two-part finale to "The Hunger Games" series, when he passed.

‘A Most Wanted Man’: Anton Corbijn On Philip Seymour Hoffman, ‘Life,’ Robert Pattinson & More

  • By Alex Suskind
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  • July 24, 2014 2:10 PM
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  • 16 Comments
Anton Corbijn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, A-Most-Wanted-Man
On its own, Anton Corbijn’s “A Most Wanted Man,” based on the 2008 novel by John le Carré, is a taut, post-9/11 spy thriller about a government’s attempt to avert future terror attacks. But consider the events that transpired outside the film, and it morphs into a more substantial, sad, and definitive piece of work.

The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 23, 2014 3:32 PM
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  • 13 Comments
Best Docs of the Year... So Far
The truth, the maxim goes, is stranger than fiction. And even while we're about to see a $200 million starring a talking raccoon and a tree-man, that's often held up by cinema: almost every week features a documentary hitting theaters or VOD telling a story just as, if not more, compelling than anything that can be found in more mainstream multiplexes.

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy': Director Luc Besson Talks The Strong Women In 6 Of His Key Films

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 22, 2014 3:54 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Lucy, Scarlett
For a man who makes his living writing and producing muscular action movies like the "Taken" franchise, Luc Besson is a filmmaker who has continually shown an amazing sensitivity and fondness for strong female characters. These aren't buxom bimbos that wield Uzis and mutter one-liners; these are fully dimensional characters that Besson is seemingly fascinated by, since they turn up in everything from historical epics to tiny, Kapra-esque comedies. The newest Luc Besson heroine is the title character played by Scarlett Johansson in this week's "Lucy," about a young woman who, after accidentally ingesting an experimental drug, unlocks the potential of the human brain. It's crazy and kind of awesome, and the latest in a long line of Besson's strong female characters.

The 10 Best Male Characters In Woody Allen's Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 22, 2014 2:33 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Male Perfs In Woody Allen Films
Is it that time of year already? This week, 2014’s Woody Allen film opens. “Magic in the Moonlight” (review here) sees the director back on the frothy-fun-in-foreign-climes form that he’s made a stock in trade recently, after the deviation of last year’s “Blue Jasmine.” That film’s Oscar-winning central turn by Cate Blanchett led us to discuss some of Woody Allen’s best female characters, and if it’s unlikely that “Magic in the Moonlight” will prove the same awards-magnet for any of its cast, there’s certainly enough here to warrant another riffle through Allen’s back catalogue of performances. And with our reviewer calling attention to Colin Firth in particular, who, cast a little against type, “drives his incorrigibly cranky character right to the edge of unsympathetic” but pulls it back just in time to save his sarcastic and cynical illusionist from all-out detestability, perhaps it’s as good a time as any to take a look at Woody’s men.

Discuss: Why One Size Does Not Fit All For Superhero Franchises & Where Sony Went Wrong With ‘Amazing Spider-Man’

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 21, 2014 4:00 PM
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  • 20 Comments
The Amazing Spider-Man
Though they've been made since the very beginning of the medium, studios are still learning how to craft sequels. Follow-ups used to be frowned upon, perceived as nakedly commercial tactics that frequently didn't involve the participants of the originals. Then they became elaborate, ongoing serialized stories, ones where filmmakers were permitted to present a full saga in chapters. And now, “franchises” have become something else, a lifeblood of Hollywood, one that has flummoxed Sony in regards to the “Spider-Man” movies.

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