The Playlist

The Playlist's 10 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2013 Cannes Film Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 9, 2013 12:00 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Cannes 2013, header
With the actual schedule released today (cue charts and diagrams as attendees try to work out how to be in eight places at one time), the final pieces are falling into place for this year's Cannes Film Festival, and it's shaping up to be a terrific couple of weeks. The initial lineup was already impressive, but the addition of a couple of titles we were surprised not to see in the original announcement has made the selection even more an embarrassment of riches. As such, we were hard pressed to pick a top ten, but finally settled on the following choices, that, along with the honorable mentions, we feel represent the strongest of what is a very solid lineup. It should be noted that there's a great showing by the U.S. in this selection, as there is for French-language movies, which is reflective of the festival overall. With Steven Spielberg the head of the Cannes Competition jury too, it feels like Franco-American relations are at an all-time high, cinematically speaking at least.

The Playlist's 15 Most Anticipated Indie Films Of The Summer

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 7, 2013 11:58 AM
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  • 6 Comments
The Playlist's 15 Most Anticipated Indies Of The Summer
So perhaps the blockbusting sturm und drang of “Iron Man 3” has you slavering for more KA-BLAMMO, in which case our Most Anticipated Summer Blockbusters is the article for you. If, however, you're already getting a slight tension headache at the prospect of weeks upon interminable weeks of tentpole releases and the din of clashing opinions that attends the redistribution of billions of dollars of wealth, never fear. The gods of counterprogramming have been especially kind this year, and there's a wide selection of upcoming, smaller-budgeted, lesser-distributed gems in which the only things that collide are intersecting lives, the only ticking time bombs are repressed emotions, the only things that break are hearts, and the only things that blow up are grandiose expectations, right in some sad sack's face. You are also much more likely to get some full-on nudity.

The Best & Worst Moments Of 'Iron Man 3'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 6, 2013 1:29 PM
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  • 46 Comments
Best/worst Iron Man 3 feature
If you were in prison, comatose or pinned to the ground by a fallen armoire this weekend, it's possible you didn't see "Iron Man 3." All the rest of us, it seems, ignored our mothers' protestations and spent a couple of hours of this fine sunny summer weekend indoors in the dark, watching Robert Downey Jr. suit up as Tony Stark/Iron Man for his third solo outing. In fact, judging by these numbers, so did Mom. The "Iron Man" threequel (read about some others here) is already in the history books as the second biggest domestic opening of all time, right behind sister film "The Avengers," and looks on track to be another billion-dollar movie for the unprecedentedly successful Marvel Universe project. But with Shane Black a new recruit for the director's chair (Iron Throne?) and expectations vertiginously high for the launch of Phase Two, the finished film could be expected to show at least a few stretch marks. Our early review is here and since then, many of The Playlist have managed to catch up with it, so here's what we thought worked and what did not. **Spoilers abound.**

Happy Cinco De Mayo: Here Are 5 Films To Raise A Glass To

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • May 5, 2013 12:42 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Cinco De Mayo movies
Bring out the Cuervo, it’s Cinco de Mayo! Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day and, although Mexican public schools are closed for the day (isn’t that the real definition of a holiday?), it is celebrated more, ahem, seriously, in the United States than Mexico. So you know, the Mexicans beat the French at the Battle of Puebla and Mexican ex-pats living in Civil War-era California turned it into a holiday. Fun fact, the Battle of Puebla also marks the last time a European force invaded anywhere in the Americas (we’re talking proper military invasions – not U-boats off of Maine’s seacoast during WW2 or the 1960’s British Invasion).

5 Reasons To Check Out The WTF, Strange & Baffling ‘Post Tenebras Lux’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • May 3, 2013 12:45 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Post Tenebras Lux
The word "art" within the context of cinema can sometimes be embarrassing to use. Much of the "cinema," movies or film we consume is consumer-driven -- well-calibrated, committee-made popcorn to entertain the masses. And indie films made by auteurs -- cinema as recently defined by Steven Soderbergh (and arguably accepted by all) -- are often artfully made, but still doggedly linear and narratively conventional. That's OK, all forms of movies have their place in the world, and as Danny Boyle recently intimated, they are symbiotic -- we need both forms, the blockbuster, the indie, the escapism and the esoteric. No arguments there, but "art," like the term "genius" should be, in this writer's opinion, sparingly used.

25 Blockbuster Threequels: Did They Sink Or Save Their Franchises?

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 2, 2013 3:04 PM
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  • 35 Comments
A lot's been written over the years about sequels -- when they go right and bring us a welcome return to characters and themes we'd flocked to see the first time out and, more often, when they do not, and instead deliver diminishing returns in everything except box office terms. But what of the second sequel, the so-called "threequel"? It's a franchise entry that presents its own specific challenges -- is it the conclusion to a trilogy (like "The Dark Knight Rises") or just the continuation of a franchise (such as "Die Hard With A Vengeance")? Does it have lost ground to make up after a disappointing second entry ("Mission: Impossible 3") or are expectations at an all-time high following a mark II triumph ("Return of the Jedi")? This weekend, we all get to see whether "Iron Man 3" rises to or sinks beneath its particular set of challenges -- you can read our judgement here -- but it's a situation with pitfalls Marvel head Kevin Feige, for one, was fully aware of.

Wes Anderson's 5 Best Commercials

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 1, 2013 12:13 PM
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  • 9 Comments
There are, apparently, people in the world who don't like the movies of Wes Anderson, who turns 44 today. Of course that's fine and everyone's entitled their opinions blah blah blah, but we're unapologetic apologists for the quirky formalism of the director, even if we end up inevitably having to use one of our most despised words -- "quirky" -- to describe it. But there are other words we use, like "charming" and "stylised," which are constantly countered by detractors with things like "precious" and "twee." And yes, his style is so mannered that it walks that line, but to our mind generally the surprise of Anderson's films is, despite the fetishizable costuming and set design and despite the controlled palettes and contorted dialogue, just how deeply felt they can be -- this never more in evidence than with last year's winning and winsome "Moonrise Kingdom."

Robert Downey Jr.'s Career In 7 Films

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • April 30, 2013 1:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Robert Downey Jr., essential performances
"Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away then what are you?" asks Captain America (Chris Evans) in Joss Whedon's "The Avengers." "Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist," shoots back Tony Stark, in a quip that, delivered either of two ways, is only slightly more impressive than the actual truth. Because of course, outside the suit, and outside the Marvel films, Iron Man/Tony Stark is in fact, Robert Downey Jr, and he's one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

The Best And Brightest Of The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • April 29, 2013 2:17 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The Best And Brightest Of The Tribeca Film Festival 2013
And so we’ve reached the end of the Tribeca Film Festival. Known for its wide-ranging selection of films from all over the globe, they truly outdid themselves this year with a slate of diverse, boundary-pushing films that suggested that, outside of the most prestigious fests like New York, Cannes and Sundance, independent cinema was alive and well, flourishing in the fest’s eleventh year. We profiled twenty films at the start of the fest that might be worth discussion, and a number of those spotlight films didn't disappoint. But the excitement of the Tribeca Film Festival is that there's often greatness emerging from where you least expect it.

The Essentials: Douglas Sirk

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • April 26, 2013 2:33 PM
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  • 5 Comments
The films of Douglas Sirk, feature
German filmmaker Douglas Sirk (né Hans Detlef Sierck) directed almost 40 films in a career that spanned three decades. A late bloomer known for grand, gorgeously expressive and emotional melodramas in the 1950s, he took a third of his career to hit full stride. The early movies were comedies, glossy adventure stories and war dramas. During his days working in Germany the director was heavily censored and when he escaped to the United States in 1937 he found himself stifled once again, “A director in Hollywood in my time couldn't do what he wanted to do,” he once said. 1942’s vengeful, vehemently anti-Nazi “Hitler's Madman” only really existed because it was seen as patriotic, and films Sirk made as late as 1952, like “Has Anyone Seen My Gal?” featuring his broad-shouldered go-to male muse Rock Hudson, were insubstantial trifles compared to his mature work. That film, lightweight comedy though it is, does still possess hints of commentary on class, status, money and the sickening desire for it all -- themes Sirk would explore, and quietly explode, in his best work.

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