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The Playlist

5 Favorite Disney Memories From 'Saving Mr. Banks' Star Jason Schwartzman

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 12, 2013 1:08 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Saving Mr. Banks Jason Schwartzman
John Lee Hancock's "Saving Mr. Banks" dramatizes the creative struggle to get "Mary Poppins" adapted for the big screen. And while much of film is devoted to the contentious relationship between Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) and 'Poppins' author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), there were people at the periphery who were just as important to the process. Chief amongst these people were the Sherman brothers, the crack songwriting duo behind the movie's unforgettable songs. Jason Schwartzman plays Richard Sherman while B. J. Novak plays Robert Sherman.

The 20 Worst Films Of 2013

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 12, 2013 12:08 PM
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  • 86 Comments
2013: Worst Fillms Of The Year
You know us, dear reader, we’re on the side of the angels. Most days of the year will find us, Pollyanna-like, looking on the bright side of the movie world, championing the weak, giving succour to the neglected and finding the silver lining to every cinematic cloud. But not today. Today, screw that, we’re giving vent to the bile that has built up over a twelvemonth of diligent moviegoing and letting it rip on those movies that just fucking suck. And while we still believe in reasoned argument and persuasive rhetoric to get our points across, forgive us if we occasionally lapse into hyperbole here, and remember that these are films that take two-odd hours of our (and your) lives and brainspace, that could be given to something much more deserving,, rewarding and wondrous, and serve us mulch instead. I mean, Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata” is roughly the same length as Sandler’s “Grown Ups 2.”

The 15 Best Documentaries Of 2013

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 11, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 17 Comments
2013: The Best Documentaries of The Year
To devotees of the medium like us, cinema has an unparalleled ability to give form and shape to previously unimagined worlds. But not all unimagined worlds are unreal, an infinite number, in fact, lurk all around us: the astounding personal history of a passerby; the human cost that the news headline crawling across our TV screen cannot capture; the treasure and trash and unclaimed bodies buried beneath our local shopping mall. But despite the unbelievable wealth of material available for it to mine, the documentary format (and we’ve been guilty of this too) has historically often been sweepingly generalized as narrative film’s less glamorous, workhorse sister.

The 15 Best Soundtracks Of 2013

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 11, 2013 12:00 PM
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  • 17 Comments
2013: The Best Soundtracks
Some people—a convenient straw man, for instance—might argue that the days of the movie soundtrack are numbered. “From & Inspired By The Motion Picture” releases are less and less common, it's hard to find music videos for specially written singles that feature footage from the movie in the way that was so common in the 1990s (thank God), and in the iTunes and YouTube era, you can find the one song that you love from a movie without needing to pick up a whole CD of stuff you don't care about.

Swindlers, Crooks And American Hustlers: 20 Films About Con Men

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 10, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Con Men Movies
Are they confidence "artists" or merely con men? Your answer may depend on your view of cinema’s flim-flammers as either larger-than-life icons of charm and effortless theft, or simply morally suspect, desperate scammers. Certainly the film industry has banked large sums with the former depiction, as the con entertains because of its (usually) non-violent nature. As opposed to a heist film where characters burst into banks, guns blazing, con artists lift money from their marks by persuasion, sleight of hand, by their superior knowledge of human nature, often accompanied with a devilish smile. Oftentimes the con will be played on a “deserving” victim—wealthy, exuding greed, arrogance, and cruelty—but other times it will be between so-called allies, lovers, or siblings, perhaps the more worthy, and therefore more fun adversaries.

For Your Consideration: 10 Overlooked Actresses Who Deserve Some Awards Season Attention

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 4, 2013 3:05 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Received wisdom says that most years, including this one, the Best Actress field of contenders for the Oscars is "weaker" than their male counterparts, with a fairly limited group of possibilities who are plausible nominees. To which we can only say: horseshit. Every year, but this one in particular, we watch scores of fine female performances be overlooked because they're in small indie movies or because they were overshadowed in reviews by male co-stars or because they're not Meryl Streep.

12 Sad Sack Musicians In Movies

  • By Jordan Hoffman
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  • December 3, 2013 3:43 PM
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  • 2 Comments
10 Sad Sack Musicians In Movies
Music is frequently one of the most memorable parts of a film, but what about when the film is about music? Better yet, what about when the film is about that character we know all too well in life: the mopey, misunderstood, fatalistic, tortured sad-sack musician? The one blindly convinced that the cosmos is purposefully conspiring to keep his melodies obscured from the masses? The one feverishly spamming your Facebook with gig announcements at puke-stained Irish pubs in obscure, transit-resistant neighborhoods? These toiling troubadours now have a new patron saint—a cinematic icon to represent their struggle to the wider world. His name is Llewyn Davis, a character worthy of both sympathy and scorn, played by Oscar Isaac in the Coen brothers' fantastic new film “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

The 25 Best Breakthrough Performances Of 2013

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 3, 2013 2:20 PM
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  • 43 Comments
25 Breakthrough Artists of 2013
One of the great pleasures of being a movie fan is the discovery of new performers. Faces that, months earlier, you'd have passed by in the street, suddenly gifted the role of a lifetime, and whose lives will never be the same again. It feels to us that 2013 was an especially strong year for new faces: festivals like Sundance, SXSW and Cannes, not to mention films that went straight to wide release, unleashed a veritable hurricane of talent that we'll be seeing for years to come.

Remembering Paul Walker: 5 Of His Best Performances

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • December 2, 2013 2:06 PM
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  • 10 Comments
Over the weekend actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in Universal's ongoing "Fast and Furious" franchise, died tragically in a car accident in California. The actor was in the midst of filming the seventh film in the series, with every intention of continuing. As Bilge Ebiri pointed out over at Vulture, the series was originally designed as a vehicle for Walker, based on the actor's experience working with original director Rob Cohen on the marginal collegiate thriller "The Skulls." Even after his death it's easy to be glib about his skills as an actor, but Walker turned in a handful of memorable performances both within and outside of the 'Fast' franchise.

10 Lost, Unmade & Possible Future Projects Of Spike Lee

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 27, 2013 4:32 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Spike Lee
You hardly need to be a daily reader of our humble blog (though if you're not, what's wrong with you?) to know that there are few filmmakers we are more eternally fascinated by than Spike Lee, despite, and let's be honest, often because of his predilection for pissing people off. Lee is an epochal figure even away from the feuds and the tiffs and the controversies; we will never forget just how awestruck we were when we first saw "Do the Right Thing" and went on to enjoy the fruits of the independent filmmaking scene that it pretty much revolutionized. If Lee had never made another film, he'd deserve our attention just for that. But of course, Lee has made other films, and if anything, the way he has subsequently swung wildly from near-genius ("The 25th Hour," "Malcolm X," "4 Little Girls") to what the what? ("Girl 6," "She Hate Me," "Kobe Doin Work"), and regularly visited all points in between, makes us even more interested in tracking his output.

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