The Playlist

12 Great & Not-So-Great Debuts From Screenwriters-Turned-Directors

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 6, 2013 4:03 PM
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  • 24 Comments
Screenwriters Turned Directors, Best/Worst
“...but what I really want to do is direct,” goes the hoary old Hollywood refrain. Actors, key grips, wardrobe assistants, the odd ambitious caterer -- sometimes it feels like everyone who’s ever stepped on to a movie set dreams, idly or with calculation, of one day calling the shots. Even the clapper loaders, who technically are the ones who call shots. But of all those jealously eyeing the director’s megaphone (metaphorical sadly, they seem to have gone the way of the plus-four as part of the director’s standard kit) perhaps those with the most reason to be covetous are the screenwriters, the hardy souls who turn in 120-page draft after draft, only to have their baby wrested from their grasp and dressed up, maybe brilliantly but often not, in clothes they might not have chosen themselves.

You're On The Clock, Mister: 20 Great Workplace Comedies

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 6, 2013 3:10 PM
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  • 12 Comments
This weekend's broad new studio comedy "The Internship" (our review) concerns a couple of schlubs (former wedding crashers Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) who, finding themselves out of work and hopelessly outdated when it comes to modern technology, apply to become interns at Google. While there, the movie becomes something of a workplace comedy – one in which all of their coworkers are way younger, cuter, and more brilliant.

2013: The Best Films Of The Year...So Far

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 4, 2013 2:56 PM
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  • 69 Comments
The Best movies of 2013 so far
Wow, wait, okay, what? It’s June? Right! So here we are again, rapidly approaching the midpoint of another year, and as is our custom, we’re taking a moment to pause and look back at 2013 so far, and to discuss, debate, and throw hissy fits over what we collectively consider the best films we’ve seen so far. As regards bigger releases, the year up to now has been, if we’re honest, a little so-so, with the blockbuster hopefuls ranging from the slightly disappointing to the outright dire (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Pain & Gain,” “After Earth,” “Oblivion,” with “Iron Man 3” probably proving the best of the bunch to date). That said, in the smaller screens of your multiplex, and at the arthouse, a few gems have found their way through and there is a positive bevy of films we’ve been lucky enough to catch early, that are coming down the pike soon, that are so good they should drag up the base standard of the year by some margin.

6 A-List Stars With Greenlight Power: Do They Wield It For Good Or Evil?

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • June 3, 2013 2:45 PM
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  • 34 Comments
6 Stars With Greenlight Power
The process by which movie A gets made while movies B-Z end up as so much shredded paper and shattered dreams is an arcane and mysterious one. While it seems as though most scripts, if they’re not just ignored, are simply fed into the enormous, clogged-up machine of the Hollywood system to be pawed over, derided or defended by the assistants to various junior executives at endless meetings about meetings, the accepted wisdom still runs that if you can get your script in front of one of maybe twenty or thirty specific pairs of eyes, the odds tip dramatically in your favor. These godlike beings with ”greenlight power,” however, are fewer now than in previous eras, in part because of a shift in the type of movies that make the big moneys these days (it’s not like “The Hangover Part III” or “Fast And Furious 6” were little sure-to-be-overlooked gems in need of a Selznick-type saviour to rescue them from the turnaround pile.) This casts the opening weekend disappointment of “After Earth” in an interesting light in a couple of ways.

Will Smith's 5 Best Performances

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 30, 2013 3:43 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Will Smith 5 Best Roles
When you reach the level of stardom that Will Smith has achieved, it can almost feel like you might have more to lose than gain (except in monetary terms) by embarking on anything as risky as a new film project. And indeed, the multi-hyphenate Smith had been largely absent from our screens over the past five years, until he showed up for last year’s “Men in Black 3,” which we might suggest, in being a sequel to a still-fondly-thought-of franchise, wasn’t the flier that arguably this week’s “After Earth” is.

Abracadabra! 10 Stage Magician Movies & The Tricks They Perform

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 30, 2013 12:48 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’d be so very kind as to direct your attention this way while our lovely assistant straps herself into this sinister looking box, you’ll see we have nothing up either sleeve and perhaps you’d like to pick a card -- any card…? With Louis Leterrier’s magician heist movie “Now You See Me” opening in theaters this weekend, we’ve been thinking a bit about the long fascination that movies have had with magicians -- not Gandalfs or Harry Potters or Merlins, but the stage-bound theatrical type who are more showman than shaman.

The 5 Best Films Plus The Highs & Lows Of The Playlist's Cannes 2013

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 29, 2013 12:57 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Cannes 2013 wrap
And so it's time to wrap up our time at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and gently put it to bed. The consensus that seemed to emerge, and that we're on board with, was that this was a strong year at the festival, and if there was no single, unexpected, left-of-field standout (no "Holy Motors" leapt out of the bushes and startled everyone) that was more than compensated for by the base standard being higher than in previous years.

The Stories Behind 7 'Behind The Candelabra' Pop Culture References

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 29, 2013 11:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Behind The Candelabra
Among the many dizzy pleasures of Steven Soderbergh’s excellent Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra" which premiered last week at Cannes and aired on HBO on Sunday (read our review) and which hopefully some of you have had the chance to catch up with, is the meticulous recreation of the period setting --- from Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to the cars, the fashions, and the unenlightened attitudes towards homosexuality, it’s a film that revels in late 70s/early 80s detail. And part of that comes from the dialogue too, with characters making often rapid-fire allusions to people and events that may have been well-known at the time, but are maybe not quite so current in our minds now.

Cannes: Tilda Swinton Suggests ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ Could Be A Documentary For The Outsiders Of The World; Jim Jarmusch Won’t Analyze This

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • May 25, 2013 3:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Only lovers lef Alive, Cannes
The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival is quickly coming to a close. In fact the Un Certain Regard winners were just announced a short while ago (you can catch up with them right here). This year’s line-up, unlike years past, positioned a lot of heavyweights near the end of the festival, filmmakers like Roman Polanski, whose “Venus In Fur” screened today, and Jim Jarmusch, whose deadpan, odd and deeply enjoyable vampire movie “Only Lovers Left Alive” screened last night (you can read our review right here).

5 Reasons Why You Must See The Hilariously Dark & Twisted 'Sightseers'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • May 10, 2013 2:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments
5 Reasons: 'Sightseers'
Caravanning into theaters this weekend in limited release is Ben Wheatley's "Sightseers." It’s easily one of the best films of the year so far and perhaps more importantly one of the most enjoyable. Our review of the film from Cannes last year affectionately dubbed it "Natural Born Campers," and that's pretty apt. A pitch-black road-trip comedy (or at least that's one of many ways to describe it), "Sightseers" centers on Chris and Tina, two misfit lovers taking a sightseeing trip through rural England, but during their voyage, Chris (Steve Oram) starts to show his psychopathic true colors once he crosses paths (and becomes incensed) with society’s various annoying boobs: the careless litterer, the obnoxiously loud party girls, the pedantic asshole, etc.

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