The Playlist

8 Established Filmmakers Who Reinvented Themselves With Risky Low-Budget Efforts

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 1, 2013 3:57 PM
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  • 12 Comments
This Friday will see the VOD release of Paul Schrader's much talked about "The Canyons," a film both inspired by and conceived for the post-theatrical era (though it will receive a limited theatrical run starting out in NYC and Toronto). The film, which revolves around a toxic producer (adult star James Deen) and his girlfriend (Lindsay Lohan), is a collaboration between "American Psycho" author/enfant terrible Bret Easton Ellis and "Taxi Driver" scribe Schrader, whose directorial career includes "American Gigolo" and "Affliction." After the duo failed to get a studio-financed shark attack movie off the ground, they decided to pursue something on a smaller scale that would required fewer gatekeepers. Schrader's email to Ellis read, "Enough of this. Let's just do something ourselves. The economics are right. You write it, I'll direct it, we'll pay for it, and we'll make cinema for the post-theatrical era." And so "The Canyons" was born.

13 Films You Should See In August

  • By Kristen Lopez
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  • August 1, 2013 2:00 PM
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  • 13 Comments
12 Films You Should See In August
August usually means backpacks, school, and the slow slog to the holidays and the end of the year (can you tell I’m not looking forward to summer‘s end?). One place where the end isn’t apparent is at the local multiplex, where there is so much going in August that I’m throwing in an additional two films for you on top of the requisite ten! Just think, August used to be a dumping ground for films that weren’t bombastic enough for summer but lacked the Oscar clout for the winter; now it’s that special time where independent films can flourish and audiences can remember why they love movies in the first place.

25 Films About First Love To Fall For

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 1, 2013 12:59 PM
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  • 14 Comments
This Friday sees the release of James Ponsoldt's "Smashed" follow-up, the tenderly drawn coming-of-age teen story "The Spectacular Now." Boasting standout performances from young leads Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, the film, which we reviewed out of Sundance and called "valuable and honest," evokes the growing pains of the unusually real-feeling central duo via a familiar conduit—the story of their first love. Romantics that we are at heart, we took this opportunity to sit on our sofas for a week with a bucket of ice cream and a pack of kleenex, revisiting a slew of films that share that theme. Given the breadth of the field, we've done our best to concentrate on films that take first love as their primary theme, but it should be noted that it crops up as a subplot with astonishing frequency, too.

10 Actors Hollywood Tried And Failed To Make Happen

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 31, 2013 1:21 PM
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  • 145 Comments
Actors That Hollywood Tried to make Happen and failed
This week, a small-scale indie Australian surfing movie called “Drift,” which details two surfing brothers struggling to overcome their debt-ridden backgrounds and avoid a descent into criminality, opens in limited release. It shares almost nothing in common with the Biggest-Movie-Of-All-Time “Avatar” except its star, Sam Worthington, who in fact plays third lead here behind two largely unknown Aussie actors as the brothers. If it seems like a far cry from Pandora for Worthington, well, that’s because it is. Nothing to do with the quality of the film, but just in terms of the whisper-quiet buzz it’s getting, which Worthington’s presence alone should have beefed up if his stock in Hollywood meant anything at all. Yet despite a concerted effort that happened back there, Worthington just hasn’t ever become a bankable studio lead, and so here we are.

The Essentials: 7 Great John Carpenter Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 30, 2013 12:43 PM
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  • 8 Comments
John Carpenter Essentials
This week, "The Fog," filmmaker John Carpenter's 1980 chiller about a fog that rolls into a sleepy seaside community carrying with it ghostly visitors, will be re-released on Blu-ray and DVD by Shout Factory, complete with a host of all new special features (including a wonderful, retrospective conversation with Jamie Lee Curtis that doesn't just cover her collaborations with Carpenter but goes on to include a frank discussion of most of her genre work from that period). With its pristine picture quality and sound, it goes a long way in reminding you what a skilled technician and artist Carpenter truly is, able to conjure forth visions of nightmarish clarity, nearly out of thin air. This is a director capable of keeping you up at night, but one who isn't interested in a cheap scare. When asked to give advice to young filmmakers, he said, simply, "Play for history if possible." That's certainly what Carpenter has tried to do; and to celebrate this recent release we've decided to run down seven of his most essential films. Frequent collaborator Kurt Russell has said of his friend that he "sees the world slightly askew." As a Russell character in a John Carpenter movie would say: no shit.

The Best & Worst Of ‘The Wolverine’

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 29, 2013 2:19 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Are American audiences starting to get bored with superhero movies? While 20th Century Fox’s “The Wolverine” did solid business overseas this weekend, the James Mangold-directed picture failed to outperform the routinely loathed “X-Men Origins: The Wolverine” stateside, making for the 2nd lowest grossing opening weekend of any X-Men movie so far (though on par with “X-Men: First Class,” and just slightly higher than the original “X-Men”). Was a lack of “X-Men” in Wolverine’s personal story to blame? The movie itself seemed to do favorably, considering its "A-" Cinemascore for those that actually paid to see it, but clearly American audiences didn’t come out in droves.

6 Things You Can Likely Expect From Zack Snyder’s ‘Superman & Batman’ Movie

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • July 26, 2013 7:19 PM
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  • 48 Comments
superman and batman
OK, we’re finally catching up with this near-exhausting week. Last weekend at Comic-Con, director Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. unveiled a huge bombshell. Nope, not a “Man Of Steel” sequel or a “Justice League” movie. Instead they unexpectedly went laterally and announced an untitled “Superman and Batman” film (perhaps much to the lament of pure Superman fans who are probably still reeling from the fact that the masked crimefighter just hijacked a second “Man Of Steel” right out from under them).

10 Of Woody Allen's Best Female Characters

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 26, 2013 3:00 PM
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  • 17 Comments
10 Of Woody Allen's Best Female Characters
There are a few stock criticisms often leveled at a new Woody Allen film: his characters are all neurotic messes; his films are relentlessly white and upper-middle class; when he tries for profundity, he flounders; when he leaves Manhattan, he never achieves anything like the heights of his New York-set stories; his eye for his own approximate generation's foibles and concerns has always been sharper than that for the much younger... the list goes on. But however much you may have your knives out, you just can't accuse Allen of not writing decent roles for women.

Let's Talk About Sex: 20 Movies About Losing Your Virginity

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 26, 2013 12:05 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Losing Your Virginity Feature
You never forget your first time, they say. And even if you were to try very hard to expunge the memory, Hollywood will do its best to keep on reminding you anyway. With seemingly another R-rated comedy released every week, (this week's being "The To Do List" starring Aubrey Plaza, opening this Friday, read our review here), The First Time has become increasingly well-trafficked territory, and it's not hard to see why. Really it's a screenwriter's dream—an (almost) universally relatable life-stage conundrum (in the Western world, anyway) that is ripe with potential for misunderstandings, social embarrassment and awkwardness, and that's just within the more comedic end of the spectrum.

Big in Japan: 10 Movies To Watch Before 'The Wolverine'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • July 25, 2013 3:41 PM
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  • 6 Comments
10 Movies To See Before The Wolverine
"The Wolverine" isn't just another stand alone movie. Following the disastrous "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," it's a complete tonal overhaul, with the property being rebuilt almost from the ground up. While there might be traces of the character's 'X'-past, particularly in the somewhat-garbled third act, there is still a very clear attempt to remake the character inside a more atmospheric, emotionally rich context. That, coupled with the movie's welcome change in scenery (it's set mostly in Japan), makes it a very, very different X-perience than you're used to. Sure, it has plenty of it's own issues, regardless (you can read our review of the Hugh Jackman movie here), but keeping all this in mind, we thought this would be a good opportunity to run through a list of ten movies that will get you ready for "The Wolverine" - whether literally, spiritually, or thematically, these movies share some mutant DNA with everyone's favorite metallic-clawed hero.

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