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The Playlist

10 Reasons Why The Original 'RoboCop' Can't Be Beaten By The Remake

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 13, 2014 1:01 PM
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  • 19 Comments
With the remake of Paul Verhoeven's "RoboCop" lumbering mechanically into theaters nationwide this week, there has been a lot of talk, online and elsewhere, about how the remake simply cannot live up to the 1987 original. But what there's been precious little of is a discussion of why the original film is so highly regarded; instead the deafening pre-release backlash just seems like a general kind of foggy, nostalgia-tinged outrage that is both inarticulate and unhelpful. And, all things considered, the remake isn't all that bad; read our colleague's review here. Still, there's no question that the remake won't manage to have the same kind of impact the original did, so we're taking this chance (having longed for one for a while) to look back to the future of Detroit, and examine exactly why that original film felt so fresh and new.

Discuss: Is The Success Of 'The Lego Movie' To Be Celebrated...Or Feared?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 12, 2014 12:00 PM
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  • 11 Comments
The Lego Movie
This past weekend brought the first bonafide blockbuster of 2014. Despite terrible weather and the Winter Olympics as competition, Warner Bros' "The Lego Movie" came in just south of $70 million, marking it the second-best February opening, and the fourth-best non-sequel animated opening, of all time. More surprising, at least to some, was the wild critical adulation that greeted its release: at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a higher score than all but two of the Oscar nominees this year (for whatever a RT score is worth). Hell, even notable contrarian Armond White liked it. And on this occasion at least the consensus is right, because "The Lego Movie" is a total delight, the best animated movie since Pixar still gave a shit, and by some distance the most inventive and enjoyable wide release of this young year.

10 Oscar Winners Who Won For The Wrong Film

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 11, 2014 3:40 PM
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  • 53 Comments
Oscar winners who won for wrong movie
There are many reasons you can win an Oscar. You can win an Oscar because your peers decided you gave the best performance or directed the best film of the year. You can win because everyone liked your movie the most, and you're being carried along by the momentum. You can win because Oscar bloggers decided you were going to win back in September, and wishing made it so. You can win because your distributor placed the most ads and threw you a bunch of parties. Or sometimes, you can win because you should have won years ago, and they want to make it up to you before it's too late.

5 WWII Men-On-A-Mission Movies To See Before 'The Monuments Men'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 6, 2014 1:51 PM
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  • 6 Comments
This week sees the release of George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" (read our review here), which carefully follows the template of what's come to be known as the men-on-a-mission movie, and has been around even before the Second World War came to a close. The recipe is simple: take a bunch of men (the more ill-suited and quarrelsome the better), give them an objective—killing Hitler, looting Nazi gold, saving Private Ryan, protecting crucial work of arts from destruction by the Germans—and send those men on the mission.

The Essentials: Francois Truffaut

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 5, 2014 2:32 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Francois Truffaut
This week sees Francois Truffaut's seminal love-triangle "Jules Et Jim," one of the French filmmaker's best-loved and most seminal works, get an upgrade to Blu-Ray on the The Criterion Collection. And with New York City's Film Forum staging a significant retrospective of his work beginning in March, and "The 400 Blows" also being reissued on Criterion in April, it feels like the perfect opportunity to do something we've been dying to do for ages: put the spotlight on the filmmaker's work.

Terry Gilliam: My Life In 8 Movies

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 4, 2014 3:27 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Kicking off what may be a semi-regular series, the wonderful Terry Gilliam proved totally game for the challenge when we found we had a few minutes to spare at the end of our interview at the Göteborg International Film Festival (you can find the rest of it here). Essentially, the idea is that while we're interested in our favorite filmmakers’ films, we’re also interested in what they’re interested in, and we hope you might be too.

The 10 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2014 Berlin Film Festival

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 4, 2014 1:18 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Berlin 2014 preview
This Thursday, just a few scant weeks after Sundance has rolled up its red carpet, we’ll be plunging into Europe’s first major festival. The Berlin Film Festival, aka the Berlinale, has (like everything else) a lower profile than Cannes and perhaps a less glamorous aura than Venice. But, in a way, that counts toward its specific identity: with the European Film Market (which is one of the three biggest in the world) and the Talent Campus, a major program of workshops and masterclasses attended by students and professionals alike, from all disciplines, from all over the world, the Berlinale feels more businesslike and no-nonsense, less seduced by the glitz of the industry than by the actual films, and by fostering the talents that make them.

Black Night, White Hell: A Look At Quentin Tarantino’s 'The Hateful Eight' Western

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 31, 2014 3:48 PM
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  • 29 Comments
Quentin Tarantino,
“​I do like the fact that everyone eventually posts [my scripts], gets it and reviews it on the net. I like the fact that people like my shit, and that they go out of their way to find it and read it," Quentin Tarantino recently told Deadline. And while we're not going to defend Gawker's wanton leaking of the script, we are going to look at the director’s would-be Western “The Hateful Eight” in some broad strokes.

Lost & Abandoned: 10 Movies That Were Shot, But Eventually Scrapped

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 30, 2014 3:42 PM
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  • 15 Comments
10 Movies Shot, Then Scrapped
Undoubtedly the biggest news story of 2014 so far (unless Apichatpong Weerasethakul replaced J.J. Abrams as director of "Star Wars: Episode VII" in between us writing this and it going live) revolves around Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight." It was announced as being the director's next movie, only for the script to apparently leak, reportedly through one of the potential actor's agents, and that caused Tarantino to announce that he was scrapping the project, at least for the moment. (He's also suing Gawker for helping disseminate the screenplay).

"DVD Is The New Vinyl" Podcast: Paul Dano, Bobcat Goldthwait & Josh Johnson

  • By Aaron Hillis
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  • January 30, 2014 1:32 PM
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  • 4 Comments
DVD Is the New Vinyl Podcast: Paul Dano, Bobcat Goldthwait & Josh Johnson, DVD Is the New Vinyl Podcast: January 2014
Yeah, yeah, this month's nearly over and all the best film news has come and gone: Sundance happened, the Golden Globes were half-boozy and half-boring as usual, and what got nominated for all the Oscars this season? (Yawn.) But while you were busy refreshing your Twitter feed anyway, another crop of essential titles hit the home-video shelves. Speaking of must-haves—in my first guest segment this month, a question arises that I now ask you: of all the DVDs and Blu-rays you currently own, what are your most coveted treasures that would have to be pried from your cold, dead hands? Feel free to answer in the comments below.

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