The Playlist

The Best & Worst Of 'World War Z'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 24, 2013 4:36 PM
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  • 17 Comments
World War Z
The people have spoken, and they have said braaaaaaains. Brad Pitt’s would-be runaway monster of a zombie movie “World War Z” is a hit and coming in at #2 this past weekend with the highest opening of Pitt’s career. Bad buzz be damned, ‘WWZ’ overcame the odds, the drama, the negative media attention to come out a solid winner (though as history shows, not every troubled production gets a happy ending). Sure, with global costs that could reach $400 million, it might be impossible for ‘Z’ to break even, but at this point, let’s face it, the movie wasn’t a colossal bomb and Paramount is breathing a deep sigh of relief. In fact, if the movie keeps going and has legs then its mooted sequel may not be in doubt, even if the movie can’t break even (studios always throw good money after bad and once they’ve started an investment, they don’t like to just chop it off at the wrist because it bled a little). And so, the final verdict on the Marc Forster-directed “World War Z” after everything that went down? Well, it’s pretty terrific in spots, ok in others, a little clunky at times and pretty problematic if you’re looking at it discerningly (you can read our original review here). But put it this way: it’s nowhere near the disaster we were lead to believe it might be. If you’re looking at it from a pure thrill ride perspective, “World War Z” is likely going to win, but as usual, we thought we’d drill down a little deeper and deconstruct the elements that are great, the ones that are so-so and the ones that weren’t so great. Or the “Best & Worst Of World War Z” for the sake of clean communication. Our thoughts below.

5 “Cursed” Movie Productions That Survived Bad Buzz And 5 That Didn't

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 24, 2013 3:51 PM
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  • 14 Comments
5 Movies With Bad Buzz
“World War Z” will in all likelihood be looked back on as an important turning point in the narrative of bad buzz prematurely equating to a flop. It's an interesting case study for studios trying to turn back the tide on troubled productions. These days, with transparency and information as available as it is, bad buzz can severely hurt a film. Look at “Gangster Squad” (delayed and then had its ending reshot), “Battleship” (delayed, looked like Michael Bay at sea) or “John Carter” (delayed, had a title changes, suffered from a terrible marketing campaign). These are three recent films that only reinforced the traditional narrative -- these movies are troubled, therefore they’re going to suck.

Predicting The 2013 Venice Film Festival Line-Up: Are 'Gravity,' 'Twelve Years A Slave' & More On The Way?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 24, 2013 1:23 PM
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  • 6 Comments
We're now about a month on from the end of the Cannes Film Festival, which means that, if we weren't already, it's time to start looking forward to the fall festival season. TIFF, Telluride and NYFF are all sneaking up, and just before them comes the Venice Film Festival, whichcelebrates its 70th anniversary in 2013.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Tobe Hooper's Underseen 'Lifeforce'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 21, 2013 1:29 PM
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  • 5 Comments
This week, DVD boutique label Shout Factory, through their Scream Factory imprint, released a new deluxe Blu-ray edition of Tobe Hooper’s “Lifeforce.” A hugely budgeted cult oddity that concerns a European spaceship that encounters a terrifying alien craft in the tail of Halley’s Comet, it has everything a growing horror freak needs: extreme violence, tons of nudity, vampires, mummies, and apocalyptic bedlam. The movie is slyer and smarter than people give it credit for, and absolutely gorgeous-looking (it was shot by a longtime Bond veteran).

The Problem With ‘Man of Steel’: Where Does It Go From Here?

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • June 20, 2013 5:03 PM
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  • 28 Comments
Man of Steel
Is there a more loaded and fractious divide on a tentpole this year than Warner Bros. “Man Of Steel”? Yes, it made a ton at the box-office (though it was only the 15th biggest opening of all time, well below “Iron Man 3”), but audiences and critics have been heavily divided. One could argue that the movie has split people even more than the ending of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” Movie writers have been gunning for each other's throats on Twitter, audiences are tearing each other apart in comments sections -- it’s all a bit of madness. And everyone feels like they have to weigh in. James Franco’s reviewed it, Kevin Smith has reviewed it and so has “Prometheus” writer Damon Lindelof.

Nicole Kidman's 5 Bravest Roles

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • June 20, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 15 Comments
While in everyday life it may conjure images of people charging into burning houses or diving into choppy oceans to save drowning dogs, “bravery” has a rather different connotation when applied to Hollywood actors and their choice of roles. Threatening to simply become a byword for “gets his/her kit off” or “plays a gay character,” the word "bravery" as critical currency has perhaps been a little undermined by reductive overuse. But there is still value in separating the kinds of performances that are calculated simply to rake in dollars, raise profiles or cement a star persona from those that seem chosen to test an actor's limits and challenge the audience’s expectations. For the sake of argument, the latter roles are the ones we’re labelling “brave” here, which comes in handy when discussing the varied and thriving career of Nicole Kidman, who turns 46 today. This time last year we talked about her 5 Essential Performances, and while there's obviously some overlap, this year we thought instead about which we might consider her bravest.

The 5 Most Memorable Performances By James Gandolfini

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 20, 2013 12:58 PM
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  • 8 Comments
The Essentials: James Gandolfini
"James was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart.' There would be silence at the other end of the phone," David Chase recalled yesterday, in a statement given to press following the sudden death of James Gandolfini. And it’s hard to disagree that the actor was indeed a composer, crafting performances on the stage and screen that will live far beyond his tragically too brief career.

12 Coming-Of-Age Movies That Inspired Jordan Vogt-Roberts' 'Kings Of Summer' Including 'Goonies,' 'Badlands' & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 20, 2013 11:25 AM
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  • 0 Comments
One of the best movies in theaters right now, and one of our favorites of 2013 so far, is "The Kings Of Summer." Premiering at Sundance under its original title of "Toy's House," the comedy became one of the popular hits of the festival, and rightly so; it's a hilarious, smart and touching film helmed with considerable flair by debut feature director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, someone who's been on Playlist radars for a while thanks to his Sundance short "Successful Alcoholics," and his Comedy Central series "Mash Up."

From Worst To Best: Ranking The Pixar Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 19, 2013 2:50 PM
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  • 53 Comments
Pixar Feature
This weekend Pixar's latest digital marvel, "Monsters University," roars into theaters (you can read our review here). Few studios can claim the kind of quality that Pixar often does – for a while there it was the most critically and commercially adored studio in the history of cinema (though they are not without their faults). And for good reason. It seemed like year after year they would commit a new classic, an endlessly re-watchable delight full of characters that will be beloved by children the world over for decades to come. In fact, the amount of excellence made ranking the films a blurry and burdensome proposition. But in hindsight (and after a couple of shoddy 3D conversions), it becomes clearer which movies are truly more special than others. This is what we've attempted to do, with our worst-to-best Pixar retrospective.

"I'll Be In My Trailer!" 15 Famous Director/Actor Bust-Ups

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • June 19, 2013 12:00 PM
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  • 29 Comments
15 Director/Actor Spats feature
With "World War Z" (our review is here) opening this weekend, come Monday there will be box office pudding to prove how much, if at all, negative advance word may have affected the overbudget Brad Pitt-starring would-be franchise starter. Aside from reports of cost overruns, the buzz around the film was also tainted by reports of on-set feuding between producer/star Pitt and director Marc Forster during the shooting stages. The two seem to have laid those demons to rest, at least to the point that they are doing interviews together for the film's press rounds, but the high-profile nature of their scrap got us to thinking about other times when director and star have fallen out -- we may try not to gossip, but as much as the next guy, we love a good old bitchy Hollywood insider tale of who threw who out which window, and what choice insult was hurled as they were falling.

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