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The Playlist

50th Anniversary: 8 JFK Assassination Films That Revisit History

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 20, 2013 2:09 PM
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  • 8 Comments
8 JFK Assassination Films
50 years ago this Friday, an open-top car rounded a corner, a bullet left a gun and history changed. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is a landmark event of which it’s hard to overstate the importance—retrospectively we can see just how much U.S. politics and society altered from that point on, making hyperbole about its impact difficult. Perhaps the only event to which it can be likened, for those of us not yet born in 1963, is 9/11, in terms of how shocking, scarring and indelible it felt to witness, and not just that, but how eerie, how uncanny, how chillingly surreal. A little like one of those cartoon moments when the scurrying critter looks down to discover it ran out of cliff a while ago, it felt, according to those who lived through it, like the ground was giving way, and having glimpsed the drop below, suddenly the nation was in freefall, all the old certainties vanishing. And when the inconceivable has happened right before your eyes, who’s to say there aren’t monsters under the bed too?

10 Music Video Directors Turned Feature Filmmakers

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 13, 2013 3:06 PM
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  • 2 Comments
10 Music Video Directors Turned Feature Filmmakers
Many years ago, The Playlist started off as a blog dedicated to soundtracks, scores, music movies and the rest of the middle part of the Venn diagram where the worlds of music and film collided. Though we’ve evolved since then, that overlap is still something close to our hearts. One way those worlds are inextricably interlinked is in the number of directors who come from a music video background to work in features, and with most of us being that precise age that we can still remember the first heyday of the music video, it never ceases to surprise us how many of the promos we remember best were shot by filmmakers we now associate primarily with features. Arguably the form is experiencing something of a renaissance in relevance these days, not just via YouTube, but also with high-profile bands like Arcade Fire embracing and expanding their music videos’ artistic potential, even while the Robin Thickes of the world grab some extra headlines with risque or provocative content.

Oscars: Will Hayao Miyazaki Win Best Animated Feature For 'The Wind Rises'?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 12, 2013 2:19 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Oscars Animation 2013
The last week or so has seen the animation branch of the Academy start to crystallize their contenders: a list of 19 features have been announced as the submitted films for the Best Animated Feature category, along with a list of 10 shorts. This year sees a fairly major change in the category, with voters on the nominating committee now able to watch the films on screeners, rather than attending special in-theater screenings. They also only have to watch two-thirds of the eligible films (twelve and a half, which we're assuming rounds up to thirteen), rather than the 80% which was the case in previous years.

What Does The Netflix Partnership Mean For The Marvel Universe? 7 Points To Consider

  • By Edward Davis
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  • November 8, 2013 1:44 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Marvel/NetFlix
Has the revolution begun? Netflix announced just a few days ago that they had delivered 2 billion hours of just streaming content in their fourth quarter this year. Before that, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos provoked the industry with a confrontational keynote speech about releasing films day-and-date on the streaming service and warning theater owners that they will "kill movies" if they continue to resist multi-platform distribution. A convenient, self-serving statement, he's since back pedaled away from those comments (after all, it’s Netflix who mostly benefits here).

10 Big Screen Superheroes With Incredibly Uncomfortable Family Issues

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • November 7, 2013 3:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Ten Onscreen Superheroes With Incredibly Uncomfortable Family Issues
This weekend sees the release of "Thor: The Dark World," which, on the surface, is just another superhero film. But, in fact, it also works as a crystallization as to what makes superheroes tick: family issues. Thor's got to save the universe, but he's also got an obnoxious brother gumming up the works, and he can never agree with his father, who is also a King. To rub it in, the sequel also seems to suggest that Mom likes Loki better. Things just aren't going Thor's way!

10 Notable Filmmakers Who Work In Both Documentary & Fiction

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 7, 2013 1:31 PM
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  • 9 Comments
10 Filmmakers Who Work In Documentary And Fiction
Truth may or may not be stranger than fiction, but both impulses certainly exert a powerful pull on the filmmaking instinct. With so many established narrative directors over the years turning their hand to documentaries, whether it’s “making of,” band documentaries, or passion projects that they use to create greater awareness of the issues that are closest to their hearts, it’s a well-trodden path. And while they’re treading that path, they get to wave at the men and women coming in the opposite direction: documentarians make the crossover into narrative just as frequently. This week’s release of “How I Live Now” (our review is here) from Kevin Macdonald is another example of how, for some directors, the dividing line between fiction and non-fiction is one they can criss-cross time and again throughout their careers—it’s a fiction film, but Macdonald’s been alternating between the formats evenly for the last decade or so.

Keanu's Samurai Training Regime, How To Shoot 3D, Committing Seppuku & More Learned On The Set Of '47 Ronin'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 6, 2013 4:02 PM
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  • 2 Comments
47 Ronin,
On Monday, we took you on the set of "47 Ronin," Universal's great tentpole hope for the Christmas season. Long-delayed (it was originally set for release last November) and with a troubled production history, the film tells the famous Japanese story of the 47 Ronin, former samurai who spent a year planning their revenge on the man who wronged their master, with two major twists: one is that one of their number is Kai, a "half-breed" played by Keanu Reeves, the other is that the vision of first-time director Carl Erik Rinsch was to set the film in "a dream of Japan," with fantastical creatures and heightened action.

Now On DVD: Roland Emmerich Reveals His 5 Biggest Influences On 'White House Down'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 6, 2013 2:26 PM
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  • 3 Comments
White House Down, Roland Emmerich
This week, "White House Down," the deliriously silly (but ridiculously entertaining) White House hijacking movie, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, detonates onto Blu-ray and DVD. In honor of the film's release, we chatted with "White House Down" filmmaker Roland Emmerich and asked him to run down the five biggest influences on the film (which this writer places amongst the top tier of the director's work). At first he was reluctant ("I feel back in school, like I had to do homework"), but eventually he shared what fuelled his movie. Read on to find out what inspired "White House Down," the dirty wife beater Channing wears and Jamie Foxx's famous line about his sneakers.

The Essentials: Michelangelo Antonioni

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 5, 2013 3:12 PM
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  • 16 Comments
The Essentials: Michelangelo Antonioni
While he had made five previous movies, 1957’s “Il Grido” being the most essential of the bunch, Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni’s career didn’t really begin in earnest until a May 1960 evening at the Cannes Film Festival where his latest film, “L'Avventura” was met with boos, exaggerated yawns, loud jeers, even derisive laughter. Antonioni had made a mysterious, sparse and opaque film that would define the rest of his career — an unusual movie, like many others that would follow, where “nothing happens,” at least in the estimation of his harshest critics.

5 Films About Real-Life Sporting Controversies

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 5, 2013 2:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment
5 Films About Real-Life Sporting Controversies
It will surprise exactly no one to learn that few of us here at the Playlist ever sat at the jocks’ table in high school and only a very few of really count ourselves as major sports fans. However there are aspects of modern sporting culture that, whether or not we find ourselves transfixed by the swing of a bat or the call of a line judge, we can’t avoid becoming caught up in. With sportsmen and women become uber-celebrities off the pitch/field/court/lawn as well as on, there’s an unavoidable tendency to make them into mythic symbols of how talent and application can indeed bring everything our society defines as success: wealth, fame, respect and glory.

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