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The Playlist

The Assessment: Luc Besson's Directorial Career In 7 Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 18, 2013 2:34 PM
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  • 9 Comments
The Assessment: Luc Besson
"I always follow my instinct," writer/producer/director Luc Besson told us in interview last week in regards to his choice of directorial project. But just where has that instinct led him? He's a fascinating filmmaker, and not exclusively for the films he makes, but also for the career decisions he's made along the way that have puzzled many onlookers. He started out as an indie darling, making stylistic, often visceral and even arty action films that were infused with his love of American genre films, comic books, and music videos. Intelligent, left of center and shot through with a distinctly European sensibility for all their U.S. influence, these early works were a rare breed of critically respectable action film. Soon the Frenchman was essentially known as a modern auteur, and one with a hip, young edge.

Discuss: Is The Neverending Franchise The Future Of Mainstream Cinema?

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • September 16, 2013 12:14 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Friday the 13th and a fiercely-managed embargo—the studio maneuvering behind “Insidious: Chapter 2” proved an impressive feat this past weekend, as the James Wan-directed horror pulled in not only the top slot at the box office with $41.1 million, but also the second largest September opening of all time. Both the film’s ending and common practice would dictate a third installment in the works, but as a numbing reality of spin-offs, sequels, and reboots slowly forms, does mainstream cinema stand at the brink of unchanging theater marquee titles for the next decade—with only a number to distinguish between them all?

Happy Friday The 13th! The Truth Behind 10 Freaky Movie Myths

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 13, 2013 3:01 PM
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  • 4 Comments
10 Freaky Movie Myths
Friggatriskaidekaphobes unite! We’re hardly the superstitious types around these parts, but with today being the notoriously unlucky/cursed/bedeviled Friday the 13th, we thought we’d counter-program from all our festival and award season coverage, and take a moment to take a not-very serious look at some of the myths, urban legends and superstitions that have sprung up around Hollywood movies over the years. Should you be terrified to rewatch “Three Men and a Baby” for any reason other than that it’s “Three Men and a Baby”? Did Charlie Chaplin catch a time traveler? Just how many people involved have to die and for how long a period after filming has ended, for a film to be considered “cursed”? These are just some of the questions we’ll be shining a light on today, so grab your lucky rabbit’s foot, throw some salt over your shoulder, cross your fingers and knock on wood as we run down, and largely lay to rest, a few of the more stubborn myths about sinister forces or secret conspiracies or paranormal interventions that have dogged the movie industry for decades.

Oscars: What Films Are Looking Good Coming Out Of Venice, Telluride & TIFF?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 12, 2013 4:36 PM
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  • 15 Comments
With Venice and Telluride in the rear-view mirror, and TIFF starting to wind down (we've still coverage to come, but very few films remain that haven't been screened to press), it feels like the perfect time to kick off, for real, our annual awards coverage. There's a part of you that groans, and that's fair enough -- it does feel like only yesterday that we were talking "Argo" vs. "Life of Pi" and so on, but even with five months to go until the ceremony itself, over half of the film that'll be in play have been unveiled. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Oscar campaigns have been underway for weeks, if not months.

The 10 Greatest Football Movies Of All Time

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 12, 2013 3:02 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Best Football Movies
It’s said that among American sports, baseball is the official national pastime, but let's face it, pigskin is truly the sport that commands the country's attention. Because of this probably over-simplistic dichotomy, football yields the toughest, most unique films, but also some of the most downbeat. Going nice and friendly is for the pee-wee leagues: down and dirty is how they do it in football movies, which eschew the legacies and honor of baseball pictures and the good-vibes camaraderie of basketball pictures, while featuring a greater scope and intensity than movies about hockey and golf. Other sports give you honor and glory. Football gives you grit and dirt, and often the only battles won are the moral kind.

In Honor Of 'Shock Corridor''s 50th Anniversary: 10 Lunatic Asylum Films

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • September 11, 2013 4:15 PM
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  • 13 Comments
Shock Corridor/Asylum feature
A far-off scream turns into a cackle of deranged laughter. Hands reach out through steel bars. Straitjacketed crazies cower in padded cells; lights flicker on and off down endless maze-like corridors; groans and whispers echo through the shadows—is there anywhere that exerts a stronger pull over the darker recesses of our cinematic imaginations than the insane asylum? Film has a unique facility to portray impressionistic, subjective states—dreams, nightmares, memories, aspirations—and therefore, of course, madness, because what is madness other than being inescapably trapped in a totally subjective reality? So it's no wonder there's long been a filmic fascination with the subject, and within the storied tradition of films set, wholly or partially, in psychiatric institutions, a particularly seminal entry celebrates its 50th anniversary this very day—Sam Fuller's exploitation classic "Shock Corridor."

In Honor Of 'Riddick:' 10 Of The Most Unnecessary Sequels Ever

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 5, 2013 2:11 PM
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  • 15 Comments
10 Of The Most Unnecessary Sequels Ever
If popcorn cinema in 2013 has been defined by one thing, it's been "Sharknado." But if cinema in 2013 has been defined by two things, it's "Sharknado" and... a glut of unnecessary and unwanted sequels. Think about it: "A Good Day to Die Hard," "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "RED 2," "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters" "Despicable Me 2," "Kick-Ass 2," "Planes," "The Smurfs 2," "Grown Ups 2." These aren't just movies that are creatively unnecessary, they are movies that it's hard to imagine anyone wanting (though in the Sandler movie's case people bizarrely did actually show up, to humanity's shame). Even "Monsters University," arguably the year's best sequel/prequel/spin-off, wasn't one that seemed that creatively in demand—it was better than expected, but hardly essential. This week sees yet another sequel few were clamoring to hit theaters: "Riddick," the third movie in the series started by 2000's "Pitch Black" and continued with 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick.". And it got us thinking about other egregious examples through the years.

Our 16 Most Anticipated Films Of The Fall

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 5, 2013 12:47 PM
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  • 21 Comments
2013 Fall Film Preview, Her, American Hustle, Counselor
With this week feeling, release-wise, a little like the industry at large is taking a deep breath while effecting the gear change from Summer tentpole scheduling to awards season programming, it’s a good moment to pause and take a look at the goodies to come in the waning months of 2013. It’s a pretty stellar lineup, as films we've seen throughout the festival year start to make their way into awards-friendly end-of-year slots, vying with films we haven't yet seen but have been patiently, and in some cases pantingly, looking forward to for months now. In fact the lineup is so stellar that for the purposes of whittling down a manageable list of the films we're most anticipating, we made the decision to exclude anything that features in our Most Anticipated Toronto Internatioal Film Festival list just to narrow the field a little.

10 Films To See In September

  • By Kristen Lopez
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  • September 3, 2013 4:02 PM
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  • 7 Comments
10 Films To See In September
We’ve entered September, the point where the films aren’t bombastic enough for summer (but not outright crap reserved for August), and don’t have the longevity or clout to be remembered come Oscar time. Ten movies made the cut, along with a swath of honorable mentions, so September might be a good time to take a break from school or work and go hit the multiplex!

The Playlist's 15 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 3, 2013 1:03 PM
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  • 8 Comments
2013 Toronto International Film Festival preview
While there might be some overlap with Venice and a little stolen thunder (at least for hardcore cinephiles) thanks to Telluride, that doesn’t make the TIFF lineup this year any less spectacular. In fact this year's slate — that runs as deep as it does long — works more than ever to make those other festivals, impressive though they may individually be, feel a little like the throat-clearings before the main event. Boasting a staggering array of splashy premieres, the latest from a barrage of auteurs and a host of indie efforts that have hitherto flown below the radar but that could surprise in a big way, it feels like the TIFF 2013 program may be their most packed ever (though we seem to say that every year). So whilst our attendees face the unenviable (but actually extremely enviable) task of working out their schedules, we've dug through the near and far corners of this embarrassment of riches to highlight the 15 films we're most anticipating from this year's Toronto International Film Festival. It wasn't an easy choice.

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